Muscle spasms, nausea and other unexplained symptoms can be disruptive. When there isn’t a clear cause, these troubles can be frustrating, often leaving individuals searching for answers.
While there may be various underlying causes, one often overlooked possibility is magnesium deficiency. Magnesium, a vital mineral, is crucial for numerous bodily functions. A lack of this vitamin causes several uncomfortable magnesium deficiency symptoms. Learn more about how you might be affected.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals for the human body, participating in over 300 biochemical reactions. It serves multiple functions, such as maintaining muscle and nerve function, supporting the immune system, promoting bone health and regulating blood pressure. This mineral is also vital for energy production and DNA, RNA and protein synthesis.
We get most of our magnesium from our diets, making proper nutrition a critical factor in maintaining adequate magnesium levels. Common dietary magnesium sources include leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. However, factors like poor diet choices, certain medical conditions and some medications can all contribute to magnesium deficiency.
If you may be magnesium deficient, you’re not alone. Approximately 31% of Americans are at risk for at least one vitamin or mineral deficiency or anemia. Keeping your nutrient intake in check is vital to maintaining your overall health and well-being.
Muscle Spasms: A Common Symptom of Magnesium Deficiency
One of the most noticeable symptoms of magnesium deficiency is muscle spasms or cramps. These involuntary muscle contractions can range from mildly irritating to excruciating and often occur in the legs, especially the calf muscles.
Magnesium is essential for muscle function, as it helps the muscles contract and relax. When magnesium levels are low, the muscles may contract too strongly and for longer durations, resulting in painful spasms.
Nausea and Magnesium Deficiency
Nausea can also indicate magnesium deficiency, though it’s not as commonly associated with this mineral as muscle spasms. Magnesium plays a role in regulating the release of various hormones and neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Low magnesium levels can disrupt this delicate balance, potentially leading to feelings of nausea or an upset stomach.
Furthermore, magnesium deficiency can indirectly contribute to nausea through its effect on other systems. For instance, magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels, and when levels are unstable, it can lead to feelings of sickness and unease.
How Do You Get Magnesium Deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency can arise from various factors, often stemming from lifestyle and dietary choices. Highly processed foods, prevalent in many diets, often lack the magnesium-rich foods our ancestors regularly consumed.
Additionally, certain medical conditions, like gastrointestinal disorders or kidney disease, can impair magnesium absorption or increase excretion. Chronic alcohol consumption can also deplete magnesium levels due to its diuretic effects and interference with magnesium absorption in the intestines.
Medications like diuretics, certain antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors may disrupt the magnesium balance in the body. Stress, which has become an integral part of modern life, can further exacerbate magnesium deficiency by depleting the body’s reserves. Recognizing these potential causes can help individuals make informed decisions to effectively prevent and address the issue.
Other Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Muscle spasms and nausea are just two of the many possible symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency. Other signs to look out for include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- High blood pressure
- Personality changes
- Low appetite
- Migraines or headaches
Diagnosing and Treating Magnesium Deficiency
If you suspect you may be deficient in magnesium due to persistent symptoms like muscle spasms and nausea, it’s crucial to seek medical advice. A health care professional can perform a blood test to measure your magnesium levels and determine whether supplementation or dietary changes are necessary.
In many cases, dietary adjustments can help alleviate magnesium deficiency. Incorporating magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains can make a significant difference.
Consider adding these foods to your diet:
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds
- Spinach and kale
- Chia seeds
- Black beans
- Whole wheat bread
- Fortified cereal
While magnesium supplements are available, you should only take them under the guidance of a health care provider to avoid potential interactions with other medications or health conditions.
How Much Magnesium Should You Get?
The recommended daily intake for people between 19-30 years old is 400mg for males and 310 mg for females. For those 31 years and older, the recommendation is 420mg for males and 320mg for females.
If you’re a teenager or pregnant, you will require more magnesium. Younger children need less magnesium than teenagers and adults.
Don’t Miss Out on Essential Nutrients
Magnesium is an essential mineral with a wide range of functions in the human body. Muscle spasms and nausea can be magnesium deficiency symptoms, highlighting the importance of maintaining proper mineral levels.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.