Magnesium is a mineral and electrolyte that has a number of vital roles in the body. Because the body cannot produce it, magnesium must be consumed as part of a person’s diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 50–60 percent of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones, and less than 1 percent is found in the blood. Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 of the body’s enzyme reactions. It contributes significantly to the:
- Health of muscles and nerves
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Production of energy in the body’s cells
- Synthesis of DNA and RNA
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency can occur when a person does not absorb enough magnesium from their diet or they may release too much magnesium from the kidneys or through the gastrointestinal tract.
Malnutrition, possibly caused by anorexia, bulimia, or frequent vomiting can result in a magnesium deficiency. However, malnutrition is unlikely to be responsible for low levels of the mineral in otherwise healthy people. Other causes of a magnesium deficiency include:
- Alcoholism. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to imbalances of electrolytes or nutrients, and it may cause the body to release more magnesium than usual.
- Breast-feeding and pregnancy. These factors increase the need for magnesium.
- Diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes. People with related conditions such as Crohn’s disease are more vulnerable to hypomagnesemia.
- Age. As a person ages, it becomes more difficult to absorb magnesium.
- Diabetes. High levels of glucose in the kidneys can cause the body to release more magnesium. People with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance may develop magnesium deficiencies. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of diabetes, and it can reduce magnesium levels.
- Organ failure. Organ failure, particularly of the kidneys, may cause the body to excrete too much magnesium.
Signs of Manessium Deficiency
Signs of magnesium deficiency include
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.
- As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur
- Severe magnesium deficiency can result in hypocalcemia or hypokalemia (low serum calcium or potassium levels, respectively) because mineral homeostasis is disrupted
Effects of Low Magnesium on Health.
Following are the diseases and disorders in which magnesium might be involved:
- Hypertension. A diet containing more magnesium because of added fruits and vegetables, more low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and less fat overall was shown to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 5.5 and 3.0 mmHg, respectively
- Cardiovascular Disease. A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies found that higher serum levels of magnesium were significantly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and higher dietary magnesium intakes (up to approximately 250 mg/day) were associated with a significantly lower risk of ischemic heart disease caused by a reduced blood supply to the heart muscle. Higher magnesium intakes might reduce the risk of stroke.
- Type 2 diabetes. Diets with higher amounts of magnesium are associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, possibly because of the important role of magnesium in glucose metabolism. Diabetes leads to increased urinary losses of magnesium, and the subsequent magnesium inadequacy might impair insulin secretion and action, thereby worsening diabetes control
- Osteoporosis . Magnesium is involved in bone formation and influences the activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Several population-based studies have found positive associations between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women
- Migraine headaches. Magnesium deficiency is related to factors that promote headaches, including neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction.