Magnesium Deficiency | Are You Magnesium Deficient?: Thomas DeLauer

Magnesium Deficiency | Are You Magnesium Deficient?: Thomas DeLauer



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Magnesium is an essential mineral that we must get from our diets.

Magnesium plays a role in:
● Nerve and muscle function
● Bone health
● Blood pressure
● Blood glucose levels

Roughly 75% of people in the US do not consume the RDA of magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency is caused by:
● Insufficient magnesium intake
● Increased loss of magnesium
○ Foods we consume can interfere with our magnesium absorption, such as alcohol, caffeine and soda.
○ Some drugs can also exacerbate this problem
○ Certain medical conditions can add to this as well, including diarrhea, diabetes and pancreatitis.

Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:
● Anxiety
● Muscle cramps
● Nausea
● Fatigue
● Poor memory
● Impaired cardiovascular health

Magnesium is stored throughout the body
● 50-60% in bone
● Soft tissue contains most of the remaining magnesium
● 1% found in blood serum

Magnesium balance is accomplished mostly by the kidneys – excess magnesium is excreted through urine.

Magnesium levels are generally measured from serum magnesium as it is not easy to measure the magnesium in bones and soft tissue.
● Serum magnesium levels have little correlation with magnesium levels elsewhere in the body

For this reason, 2 methods for testing magnesium levels in the case of possible deficiency include:
1. RBC magnesium levels – evaluates the amount of magnesium INSIDE of red blood cells (Traditional serum levels look at extracellular serum magnesium levels)
2. Magnesium deficiency questionnaire

RBC versus serum:

● Extracellular
● Good for determining magnesium absorption

● Intracellular
● Examines tissue assimilation of magnesium

RBC can provide an earlier indication than traditional serum test for magnesium deficiency
● Our bodies will take magnesium from the inside of the cell to keep the serum levels of magnesium up if there is a deficiency – at this early stage a RBC test will show low magnesium levels while a serum test will not

Using both RBC and a clinical questionnaire may be the best way to determine functional magnesium levels.

To improve magnesium status, scientists want to work on improving not only magnesium consumption, but absorption and assimilation.


1. MAASS Study Proposal References: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
2. Magnesium RBC Blood Test


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