3 Signs that You’re Magnesium Deficient



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3 Signs that You’re Magnesium Deficient

Causes of Deficiency

Depleted soil conditions mean that plants (and meat from animals that feed on these plants) are lower in magnesium.

Use of chemicals like fluoride and chlorine in the water supply make magnesium less available in water since these chemicals can bind to magnesium

Both a high sugar intake and elevated insulin levels (which can result from a high intake of refined carbs, including sugar) have been shown to increase the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys, by inhibiting tubular reabsorption (the same process that leads to calcium excretion) and by guzzling through the body’s magnesium reserves during sugar metabolism

*Tubular reabsorption is the process by which solutes and water are removed from the tubular fluid and transported into the blood*

Partly why people with diabetes or chronically high insulin tend to have higher magnesium requirements and more rapid magnesium depletion

3 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency – Cramps/Tight Muscles, Anxiety/Stress, Sleeplessness

Cramps/Tight Muscles

Magnesium directly interacts with your muscle tissue through a process called ion transportation.

When magnesium contacts your cell membranes, it bonds with specific receptor sites that open up the cell membrane and allow other mineral ions to enter, such as calcium and potassium. These ions help regulate muscle contractions and might ease muscle tension

Too much calcium: Calcium and magnesium have a partnership in the body – calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax.

If there is too much calcium in your body, which is common in the typical American diet, –there won’t be enough magnesium to balance out the calcium –so your muscles won’t be able to properly relax (3)


In order to fall asleep your body and brain need to relax

Magnesium aids this process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed

Magnesium regulates neurotransmitters, which send signals throughout the nervous system and brain and regulates melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body

It also binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors and activates them. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down nerve activity

A lack of magnesium can result in low GABA levels, and when GABA is low, your brain gets stuck in the “on” position and it becomes impossible to relax (4)

Magnesium also plays a part in helping you achieve deep and restful sleep as well (6)


Increasing GABA not only promotes sleep, but also reduces anxiety and stress

Low GABA is associated with numerous stress-related disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and irritable bowel syndrome

And, as mentioned, magnesium is important for binding and activating GABA receptors. Without adequate magnesium, we are unable to effectively activate GABA receptors and utilize GABA effectively

Magnesium regulates cortisol

A 2012 report, published in the Journal of Neuropharmacology,
Magnesium deficiency caused an increase in the production of cortisol in the brains of the mice, specifically by activating the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, a part of the brain that controls responses to stress and anxiety

Concluded: Magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol by restricting its release and acting as a filter to prevent it from entering the brain (7)


1) Magnesium — Health Professional Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

2) Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15930481

3) Magnesium as Muscle Relaxer | LIVESTRONG.COM. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/490255-magnesium-as-muscle-relaxer/

4) 8 Ways Magnesium Relieves Anxiety and Stress | Be Brain Fit. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bebrainfit.com/magnesium-anxiety-stress/

5) How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-and-sleep

6) The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23853635

7) Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198864/


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