Magnesium may be one of the most underrated vitamins in the health industry but it is important for muscle and nerve function, controlling blood sugar levels and maintaining healthy metabolism and bone density.
Even though 75 per cent of the Americans don’t meet their recommended magnesium intake every day, Magnesium deficiency – also known as hypomagnesemia – is an overlooked health problem that affects only 2 per cent of the population.
In most cases, the deficiency goes undiagnosed because signs don’t become obvious until magnesium levels become extremely low, leading to other serious health problems like diabetes, chronic diarrhea and celiac disease.
Women are the biggest beneficiaries of this important vitamin which is abundant in fresh produce such as leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds, yogurt, dark chocolate and bananas. According to dietary guidelines by United States Department of Agriculture, women are required to consume 310 to 320 mg of magnesium every day whereas the recommended intake is 40 mg higher in pregnant females.
Magnesium deficiency is often seen in people who have a problem with alcohol abuse, anorexia and vitamin D deficiency. Although its symptoms aren’t evident immediately, magnesium deficiency can lead to serious health complications down the line. Here’s how to tell if your diet is lacking this important vitamin.
A Tingling Sensation in Extremities
Magnesium is crucial for sending nerve impulses from the brain to the body which means that when you aren’t getting enough of this nutrient in your diet, you start feeling a tingling sensation or numbness in fingers and toes, which are the farthest points for sending nerve impulses.
Nutritionists say that people with severe magnesium deficiency suffer from flu-like symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea and lack of appetite.
Since these symptoms are commonly associated with mild illnesses like flu and cold, the deficiency often goes undiagnosed. If you have been experiencing these symptoms for at least 5 days, visit a doctor a more accurate diagnosis.
Having Unexplained Seizures
Seizures are often associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain, and since magnesium affects the brain’s ability of sending nerve impulses, people with a deficiency can suffer from seizures even if they don’t have a seizure disorder.
Cramps in Muscles
To counter the lack of magnesium in your body, calcium begins to floor inside the nerve cells which causes hyperstimulation inside muscles. This explains why people with magnesium deficiency feel stiffness in their limbs and often find it difficult to move their arms and legs.
The issue is even more prominent in pregnant women who suffer from frequent leg cramps. A clinical trial with pregnant women shows that taking magnesium supplement can prevent cramping or soreness in legs.
Mood-Swings and Other Mental Disorders
Lack of magnesium doesn’t just affect your physical health but also your psychological well-being. People who are deficient in this vitamin suffer from frequent mood swings and personality changes. They may also be prone to the risk of developing depression and anxiety.
Some patients even report a feeling of mental numbness or lack of emotions when they’re running low on magnesium levels.
A deficiency in magnesium may also prevent the absorption of potassium, a vitamin crucial for heart health. Lack of potassium, combined with low levels of magnesium, can have an adverse effect on heart cells, causing irregular heartbeat. If you notice your heart beating slower or faster than usual, book an immediate appointment with your physician.
There could be a number of reasons why you’re feeling constipated, consuming less magnesium could be one of them. This important vitamin offers the benefit of a laxative which promotes healthy bowel movements. According to doctors a healthy individual has at least three bowel movements a week.
Anything less than three trips to the toilet is considered a sign of constipation which could be caused by a magnesium deficiency. A diet lacking in fiber is also a common cause of constipation.