Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in many processes in the body, including energy production, bone and teeth structure, muscle function and nerve function. Although a deficiency in magnesium is rare, it is thought that many people do not get the recommended daily intake through their diet.
Although an inadequate dietary intake of magnesium is the most common reason for a magnesium deficiency, there are some health problems that are associated with magnesium loss, such as diabetes, poor absorption, chronic diarrhoea and celiac disease.
Read on to learn about possible signs you may need to increase your magnesium intake.
Magnesium is an electrolyte necessary for muscle function, therefore a lack of magnesium may lead to cramp – particularly during physical activity. A magnesium deficiency can also cause twitches and tremors in the body, but keep in mind that these can also be caused by stress or too much caffeine, or a symptom of a neurological disease – so it is always best to consult your doctor.
Anxiety & depression
Some neurotransmitters in the brain require magnesium to function properly; therefore if the body is low in magnesium it can affect our mood. Scientists believe that a magnesium deficiency is associated with an increased risk of depression and promoting anxiety, and that supplementing may be beneficial to some people.
Fatigue may be a sign of magnesium deficiency, however as fatigue is a nonspecific symptom and everyone can become fatigued from time to time, identifying a lack of magnesium from this symptom alone is impossible. It is usually accompanied by muscle weakness, which scientists believe is caused by the loss of potassium in muscle cells, a condition associated with magnesium deficiency.
A disorder characterised by weak bones, osteoporosis may be linked to a magnesium deficiency. The deficiency may directly affect bones, but it also lowers the levels of the main building block of bones – calcium. Other causes of osteoporosis include aging, lack of exercise and lack of vitamin D and K in the body.
Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is found in many types of food, but the richest sources are seeds and nuts – with wholegrains, beans and leafy green vegetables also being good options.