Magnesium is essential to the functioning of hundreds of enzymes in your body, which means that it can affect just about every bodily system. The signs that you might be magnesium deficient are subtle and often overlooked, but they could indicate serious health problems down the road.
If you're feeling exhausted, short tempered and you're having difficulty sleeping , magnesium deficiency may be to blame. Here are 7 signs that your body is begging for more magnesium (this isn't a conclusive list, so we recommend consulting with your doctor if any of the below symptoms persist):
1. Muscle cramps and spasms
Magnesium is required for muscles to contract properly, which is why magnesium deficiencies are often linked to muscle cramps and even twitches. That's because magnesium is required for magnesium-dependent enzyme systems which are needed for muscle relaxation. If you're prone to tight, cramping legs that wake you in the middle of the night , magnesium might be your new best friend.
2. Chronic stress
Magnesium plays a crucial role in managing the effects of stress on your body. When magnesium levels are low, magnesium stores in the bones become mobilized to help fulfill magnesium needs in the bloodstream and muscle cells during times of chronic stress. This causes further deficiency and creates a terrible cycle whereby stress causes our bodies to deplete magnesium, and low magnesium causes a stress reaction. The problem with this scenario is that magnesium deficiency can occur quickly causing anxiety, irritability, and overwhelming feelings.
3. Sugar cravings
Magnesium deficiency can lead to sugar or carb cravings . Most people reach for soda when they're tired, but this only compounds magnesium deficiencies. The caffeine in soda is a diuretic that flushes magnesium out of the body quickly leading to magnesium depletion and activating a vicious cycle. Sugar depletes magnesium in the body which makes people crave more sugar, and so on.
4. Chronic fatigue
Magnesium is also required for energy production. The metabolism of carbohydrates, fatty acids, amino acids (proteins), and vitamin C require magnesium. Without magnesium these can't be correctly metabolized, keeping your body in a state of fatigue.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with migraines and tension headaches. Magnesium helps maintain healthy blood vessel tone, which can be disturbed by magnesium deficiency, causing constriction and spasms in the muscles of the head and neck. In fact, magnesium is an effective remedy for tension or migraine headaches because magnesium relaxes blood vessels allowing more oxygen to flow to the brain.
Magnesium plays a major role in the magnesium-dependent enzyme system, which is needed for the conversion of the "fight or flight" hormone norepinephine into GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), the "relax and unwind" neurotransmitter. Magnesium acts a natural sedative and relaxes the mind and body.
Magnesium has been found to have a calming effect on the brain, by activating the soothing neurotransmitter GABA. Magnesium also calms the nervous system and is required for a restful night's sleep. Magnesium deficiency can cause or exacerbate restless leg syndrome as well.
How to get enough magnesium
The RDA for magnesium is 350-400 mg a day but that's just barely enough to avoid outright deficiency. To ward off the many conditions that are associated with magnesium and ultimately feel your absolute best, you may need much higher amounts.
Foods that are rich in magnesium include leafy vegetables, nuts and seed, dark chocolate and whole grains.
The Bottom Line
Restoring magnesium levels can be a confusing and overwhelming process which is why we've created the ultimate cheatsheet to help you feel your best! Grab the free 25 page guide, "Magnesium: The Secret Mineral That Can 10X Your Health". It covers everything you need to know - from what magnesium is and why it's so important for your health, all the way through how to diagnose a deficiency.
All of us at Rooted In are passionate about helping people feel their best! We love hearing success stories like yours. Have you learned anything new that may help others? Grab our free guide and share with other readers just like yourself who want useful information on nutrition without any fluff or gimmicks!