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Before we go into discussing magnesium deficiency, a little about magnesium first.

Magnesium is a mineral essential for the function of your muscles, nerves and immune system. It also keeps your heart and bones strong.

Magnesium works in every cell of your body, aiding conversion of food into energy and creation of new proteins.

It is also involved as a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems which regulate your protein synthesis, blood sugar levels, blood pressure control and the function of your muscle and nerves.

Your body contains around 25 g of magnesium, and 90% of it is contained in your muscles and bones.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency occurs in you, when you don’t get enough magnesium required to keep your body healthy.

Health issues arising out of magnesium deficiency are quite rare. However, factors like alcohol addiction or specific medications can contribute to the disease.

Magnesium deficiency can lead you to medical conditions, such as:

Indian Council of Medical Research recommends a daily intake of 340 mg magnesium for men and 310 mg for women.

Achieving Optimal Magnesium Levels: A Delicate Balance

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, yet many people suffer from magnesium deficiency without realizing it. Hence It becomes equally important to maintain adequate magnesium levels without exceeding the recommended daily intake. The recommended daily intake varies by age and gender, but generally, adult men need around 400–420 mg, while adult women require 310–320 mg. Causes of magnesium deficiency range from poor dietary intake to certain health conditions like gastrointestinal disorders. Ultimately, achieving optimal magnesium levels involves a balanced approach through a nutrient-rich diet, supplementation (if necessary), and addressing any underlying conditions that may contribute to deficiency.

Magnesium Poisoning: An Uncommon but Serious Concern

While magnesium is an essential mineral for various bodily functions, excessive intake can lead to a condition known as magnesium poisoning or hypermagnesemia. This rare occurrence typically results from an overdose of magnesium supplements or medications containing magnesium. Symptoms of magnesium poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, low blood pressure, confusion, and, in severe cases, an irregular heartbeat or respiratory distress. Certain individuals, such as those with kidney disease or gastrointestinal disorders, are at a higher risk of developing hypermagnesemia due to their body’s inability to effectively eliminate excess magnesium. While home testing kits for magnesium deficiency are available, they are not reliable for detecting magnesium poisoning. If you suspect an overdose or experience concerning symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as hypermagnesemia can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Causes and Risks of Developing Magnesium Deficiency

Causes of magnesium deficiency can include:

  • Crohn’s disease and celiac disease
  • Diets low in magnesium
  • Severe diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Prolonged use of water pills (diuretics)
  • kidney diseases like renal dysfunction
  • Gastrointestinal issues related to pancreatitis
  • Certain medications
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Key Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

If you’re a healthy individual, the risk of you developing magnesium deficiency is quite rare.

In fact, the percentage of people with magnesium deficiency is only a small minority.

However, in those affected with the disease, these following early symptoms can show up:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue, general weakness
  • Loss of appetite

As the condition progresses, these following pronounced symptoms can show up:

  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Coronary artery spasms
  • Hypocalcemia (way too little calcium in your blood)
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Hypokalemia (low levels of potassium in blood)
  • Personality changes like apathy, depression, agitation, confusion, anxiety, and delirium

Diagnosis of Magnesium Deficiency

An accurate diagnosis of your magnesium deficiency depends on how accurately we can measure the amount of magnesium in your body.

Diagnoses can be different for people living in different countries.

There are two ways of diagnosing your magnesium deficiency: blood test and urine test.

Depending on the prognosis, your Doctor will recommend the required treatment for you.

Effective Treatments for Magnesium Deficiency

Your treatment for magnesium deficiency varies from putting you on magnesium supplements to administering intravenous magnesium (only in rare, critical cases).

Magnesium intake can infer with diuretics, antibiotics, some blood pressure medications and diabetes medications. In such scenarios, it is important to consult with your Doctor before resorting to magnesium supplements.

You must also avoid high doses of zinc supplements to aid in your treatment.

But the best course of your treatment comes from dietary sources rich in magnesium.

Magnesium is found in good measure in whole grains, nuts, legumes and leafy green vegetables.

Let’s see the list of other magnesium-rich foods that can help you balance your magnesium levels.

  • Avocados
  • Cashews
  • Tuna fish
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Tofu
  • Chia and flax seeds
  • Bananas
  • Kidney beans
  • Raisins
  • Carrot
  • Dried-figs
  • Dates


Your own genetic variations can negatively alter your ability to absorb magnesium from your diet. But magnesium deficiency can be easily managed by proper diagnosis and treatment based on regulating your dietary intake to suit your magnesium needs.

In a nutshell, magnesium deficiency is both treatable and manageable.


1. How to test for magnesium deficiency at home?

While not as accurate as medical tests, you can test for magnesium deficiency at home by using over-the-counter magnesium test kits in your urine or saliva.

2. What food is highest in magnesium?

Spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, and black beans are among the foods highest in magnesium.

3. How can I increase magnesium?

You can increase magnesium by consuming magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fish. Supplements may also help if deficient.

4. What causes high magnesium deficiency?

Poor dietary intake, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications (diuretics, antibiotics), and conditions like Crohn’s disease or diabetes can cause magnesium deficiency.

5. Which fruit is rich in magnesium?

Avocados, bananas, and dried figs are among the fruits richest in magnesium.

If you have a question related to this blog post, write to us here and we will update this post with a response.

Sources: Medical News Today, Health Direct, Healthline, Cleveland Clinic, National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, WebMD, Medscape, Health, Johns Hopkins and Pubmed.

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