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Magnesium Deficiency Causes: Foods Rich in Magnesium and Magnesium Supplementation

Updated on February 20, 2014

A recent government study shows that 68% of Americans don't consume enough magnesium on a daily basis. Magnesium deficiency is linked to allergies, asthma, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, heart disease, muscle cramps and other conditions.Everyday we are bombarded with chemicals through the air we breath, food and liquid intake and what comes into contact with our skin. Magnesium plays a huge role in the elimination of toxins from the body. If we are low in magnesium we are much more susceptable to the ill effects of those toxins. One doctor states that if you are low in magnesium and use aspartame on a regular basis, the toxicity is magnified and can result in headaches and migraines.

Magnesium is a mineral that is vital to our health. It is one of several essential minerals we need on a regular basis to maintain health. About 60 to 65 percent of magnesium is found in our bones. Another 25 percent is found in our muscle and the rest is found in body fluids and other cell types. Like every other mineral essential to good health, it cannot be manufactured by our bodies and must be received through nutrition. Magnesium is well known for its ability to relax our muscles, maintain calmness and healthy blood pressure.

Magnesium is involved in giving our bone their strength and structure. It is found in the bone scaffolding together with Phosphorus and Calcium. It is also found on the surface of the bone. This reserve is used by the body in the event of poor diet.  When there is not a sufficient supply of magnesium, bones become brittle and lose their flexibility, increasing the risk of fractures. In the the adult years, magnesium is the most important nutrient for bone health.

Magnesium is necessary to prevent nerve cells from becoming overactive. When some nerve cells get overactive they send too many messages to the muscles causing them to overcontract. If this becomes a common occurance it can lead to muscle spasms, muscle fatigue, muscle cramps, muscle tension and muscle soreness.

Magnesium is involved in the function of over 300 different enzymes. It aids in metabolizing protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as help genes function properly. Without magnesium, certain fuels cannot be stored in our muscles. Because the role of magnesium is so diverse nearly every body system is effected by magnesium deficiency.

Deficiency symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency include heart arrhythmia, irregular contraction, and increased heart rate, muscle weakness, spasms and tremors, softening and weakening of bone, no appetite, vomiting, seizures, nausea, high blood pressure, headaches, imbalanced blood sugar and depression. Toxicity Symptoms include magnesium taken in very high doses of between 1000-5000 milligrams result in diarrhea, drowsiness and a feeling of weakness.

Cooking foods high in magnesium like navy beans and spinach will result in a huge loss of magnesium. Other foods high in magnesium such as almonds and peanuts lose very little magnesium in the roasing process as long as the whole nut is used.

Digestive tract problems such as absorption difficulties, diarrhea, and ulcerative colitis are the most common cause of magnesium deficiency. Kidney disease and alcoholism can contribute to deficiency of this mineral. Different types of stress such as stress from colds, physical trauma and surgery also can cause a deficiency in magnesium. Diuretics used to lower blood pressure have been found to compromise magnesium. Antibiotics and oral controceptives will decrease the amount of magnesium available in the body.

Magnesium and Calcium work together in the body and a diet rich in both is essential. It regulates the movement of potassium in and out of our cells. A diet rich in amino acids has been found to improve magnesium presence in the body. Magnesium supplementation is necessary for those who do not get adequate amounts from their diet. Supplements are made in chelated or non-chelated form. Chelated forms include: magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium aspartate, and magnesium taurate. Non-chelated forms include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium carbonate. Research has shown that the chelated forms of magnesium absorb better than the non-chelated forms.

Foods rich in magnesium include raw spinach and swiss chard. Very good sources include broccoli, mustard greens, summer squash, halibut, blackstrap molasses, halibut, turnip greens, pumpkin seeds and peppermint. Several good sources of magnesium include celery, cucumber, green beans, kale and a number of different seeds such as flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds.

Magnesium deficiency has become a huge problem that effects a large portion of the population. Many diseases and ailments have been associated with magnesium deficiency. Having to cope with daily stresses and numerous toxins in our environment only increases the urgency to insure we are getting the required daily amount of magnesium to maintain good health and restore possible magnesium deficiency in our bodies.


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    • profile image

      Touffpramma 4 years ago

      My spouse and i utilized to find on top of existence nevertheless recently We have piled up the amount of resistance.

    • profile image

      whisperingsage 5 years ago

      I hve been in adrenal fatigue for some years and though I have been taking the normal dose of Mg for years, My 8 year diarrhea was relieved by increasing it to 2000 mg daily. Yes, it actually solidifies my stool, and this, I am thinking from online research is because my gut (from the adrenal issues) are overproducing histamine and cause a fasting diarrhea from overactive mast cells. This wakes me up in the middle of the night and sends me to the bathroom, but with this dose, i often sleep through the night.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Never knew all this about magnesium. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • profile image

      hiit 6 years ago

      Amazing hub, thanks for posting this

      hiit from

    • profile image

      donna and harry 6 years ago

      I was experiencing achiness in my arms and legs after the threadmill work out, i also have a old sprsin on my ankle and because of this my hip and knee was hurting me alot. I did some reading, i went to the health food store purchased calcium.mag. with vit d3. thank god the ackiness has gone away and the magnesium makes me sleep at night as well....

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Thanks for the great information. This hub will help me (and others) make informed decisions about the use of magnesium for a variety of problems.

    • profile image

      Darvocet Lawsuit 6 years ago

      We should always maintain a well-balanced minerals inside our body, it may be magnesium,zinc etc. Too much consumption will also lead us to dangerous adverse effects.

      Steve, thanks for posting this one. Great job!

    • profile image

      Multiman 6 years ago

      Good article on this deficiency

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Naomi!

    • Naomi Jayne profile image

      Naomi Jayne 7 years ago from Australia

      Fantastic info!

      Looking forward to reading more,



    • profile image

      Mao 7 years ago

      I was looking around some magnesium related topic and then I land here good thing this was so informative thanks!

    • profile image

      cathy  7 years ago

      my doc told me my eye twiching was a magnesium deficency

    • Trinsick profile image

      Trinsick 7 years ago from Cali

      Steve thanks for the practical info.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      This is an excellent hub and I'm on the verge of pouring out all my medical symptoms in case you have the answer - don't worry, I've got the urge under control. Thanks for following me.

    • Lonera profile image

      Lonera 7 years ago from Everywhere

      I take magnesuim to decrease my palpitations, this is also vital on getting rid of all the toxins.

      Thanks for a great article.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      Thanks for a great hub You packed it with so much info I am bookmarking it for future reference. Looking forward to reading more of your interesting hubs

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 7 years ago

      informative hub. Just started with magnesium supplements. Did not know that cooking the beans and spinach depleted the magnesium from it.

    • Aquatic Guru profile image

      Aquatic Guru 7 years ago from Goodspring, Tennessee

      Another very informative article!!

    • Sharriberry profile image

      Sharriberry 7 years ago from Port Elizabeth South Africa

      Very informative and interesting.I am taking magnesium chelate for Migraines and was told by someone to use magnesium creams or lotions because they absorb better.Living in South Africa is a challenge not being able to get these new treatments.I was wondering if the lotion is so much better than the tablets.

      I have also found the connection between Acid reflux and Migraines and would like to thank you for all the info on your hubs..Got a lot of reading to do..!!

    • profile image

      Calcium Magnesium Citrate 7 years ago

      Calcium Magnesium Citrate:

      Bluebonnet’s Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate Plus Vitamin D3 provides 1200 mg of calcium and 600 mg of magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, plus 800 IU of vitamin D3 from lanolin in one delicious, naturally flavored liquid formula. Available in six tasty natural flavors including blueberry, strawberry, lemon, orange, raspberry and mixed berry. Calcium Magnesium Citrate on Discount at

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    • sikreyto profile image

      sikreyto 7 years ago

      I hope to learn more from you...I believe we have same interest! I myself is a medical professional. I'll follow you! Also, you can check out medical tips in my site!

    • sikreyto profile image

      sikreyto 7 years ago

      Very well written! It was definitely a great info about Magnesium. I am a nurse, and i can attest to that! I have handled patients presenting signs and symptoms of hypermagnesemia . It's really crucial to always check their labs! Good luck to you!

    • Jisblessed profile image

      Jisblessed 7 years ago

      Another informative piece. I believe they all are. I look forward to reading more. I believe you're a heaven sent.Thanks! Stay Blessed!

    • ladylux profile image

      ladylux 7 years ago

      So important to remember that these minerals work in tandem with one another. Thanks for the hub.

    • profile image

      Mark Martinez 7 years ago

      Great info, like the bit about "Without magnesium, certain fuels cannot be stored in our muscles"... and, another big one about chelated forms getting absorbed better. Think I'm using the citrate form, will check it tonight.

      Mark Martinez

      your hyper gain creatine test lab

    • profile image

      peacenhim 8 years ago

      Very True!! I used to take liquid Magnesium daily, but haven't done so in a few years. I can truly tell the difference. It helps rid the body of toxins!

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 8 years ago

      Stevemark, very good info here. One time I was diagnosted with magnesium deficiency and my doctor told me to eat bananas. I didn't see it list it on your list of foods but I will for sure try them.

    • Greenheart profile image

      Greenheart 8 years ago from Cambridge

      I use calcium and magnesium tablets before bed to help me sleep.

      That was recommended by a trusted doctor i know.

      It certainly aids in relaxation

    • profile image

      Jessica 8 years ago

      Thanks for writing about the importance of Magnesium. I was deficient for over 12 years! Doctors and Chiropractors all had no clue as to why I was having such chronic pain and back problems. It took a cardiologist to figure out what was wrong with me when my deficiency eventually started effecting my heart and nervous system.

      I now take Natural Calm magensium every day and if I forget to take my dose in just one day I get muscle twitches and a migraine. Can't live without the stuff!

    • vitaman249 profile image

      vitaman249 8 years ago from Saudi Arabia

      Thanks for the info and keep on the good articles.

    • JennifersJumpers profile image

      JennifersJumpers 8 years ago

      Thanks for the article. I'll be sure to ask my doctor about this.

    • Jana67 profile image

      Jana Murray 9 years ago from Waves, NC

      Magnesium is an often overlooked inexpensive solution to many health problems. Great resource .

    • julia ward profile image

      julia ward 9 years ago from Florida

      Great article! I take magnesium religiously. I have my son take it when he plays football in our severe heat. I read somewhere that athletes who just drop dead on the field usually have a magnesium deficiency. Since magnesium regulates our heartbeats, under extreme and exhausting conditions they become so stressed their hearts stop.



      julia ward - a BLINDING heart - a writer's blog -

    • profile image

      Scott Doughman 9 years ago

      Check this out

      Green Omega-3 or Green Medicine - You Decide: Saving the planet with hope for our global public health care, Microalgae oil is being touted as the “Green Omega-3” and as “Green Medicine” because it is a sustainable product, can replace the need for fish oil by culturing the omega-3 directly from the source, and it can save the health care system by championing preventive medicine in the areas of diabetes, heart disease, high triglycerides, cholesterol health, ADHD, mental health and Alzheimer’s-dementia.

    • Renegade Coach profile image

      Renegade Coach 9 years ago from Langley, BC

      Thank you for a very informative hub. A friend of mine's mentor used to drill into her head that “calcium was the sheep and magnesium was the shepherd”. Without enough magnesium, calcium does not know where to go and in fact can fall out of solution and end up in places that it shouldn’t like in your kidneys and in your joints. Also,she taught me that if you take calcium it should be balanced with both magnesium and vitamin D.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      I wanted to also mention my husband cured tingling in his face by taking magnesium citrate.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks grumpyjacksa for your comment! It is amazing how well our bodies work when we give them what they need.

    • grumpyjacksa profile image

      grumpyjacksa 9 years ago from south africa


      my ex used to get seizures that had a few GP's fooled . until one ran some tests and diagnosed a bad shortage of magnesium and calcium , the former deficiency being the worse of the two .

      he upped the dosage to around 300 % RDA for both , and that was the end of it .

      when a seizure was underway , she used to complain of a "pins and needles" feeling in her fingertips . and it was also aggrevated by stress . so yes , a magnesium shortage can have bad effects .

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Marisue, thanks for your magnesium testimony and the nice comment!

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      My brother is a nutritionist and he has been "yelling" at me for years to take magnesium CITRATE.  It has cured me from constipation, muscle weakness, insomnia improved, and other deficiencies you mentioned. 

      Very important hub, Steve!!  Thank you for getting this out there.  May I include his link for more information:  thank you for allowing that. 

      I find myself saying "Gee, if I had known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."

      Your hubs are always so professional and to the point.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment guys.

      Mulder that sounds VERY healthy!

    • mulder profile image

      mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      every morning i have oats pumpkin and sunflower seeds and berries for breakfast . Great hub

    • Stay at Home Dad profile image

      Stay at Home Dad 9 years ago from Georgia

      Good info as always. I am not crazy about spinach, but I can incorporate more of the other foods you listed into our dinner menu.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      The only thing I knew about magnesium before reading this hub is that my friends would take it when they'd take... "experience enhancers" at raves. :P It would help them relax their jaws. Weird.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I would much rather eat the cooked pumpkin that popping more tabs, At least I eat the nuts, but looks like need those dratted pills still. Thanks that is really helpful. I didnot realise how many things it can affect.

    • profile image

      Michelle Reed 9 years ago

      I remember learning this in A&P, but I had forgotten most of this. Thanks for refreshing my memory, I will need it for Organic Chem next semester. :)

    • profile image

      jedgrey 9 years ago

      Hi, Steve Great hub, very informative.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Pete for the pumpkin seed tip!

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks gjcody for your comment and the best to your health too!

    • gjcody profile image

      gjcody 9 years ago

      stevemark ..this is good information.  Thank you for the research and sharing ..more people need to pay attention to such details. My best to your health!

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Nicki for your thoughtful comment and great meal suggestion.

    • Nicki B profile image

      Nicki B 9 years ago from Orange County, Ca

      So I suppose there are two ways to incorporate this mineral into your daily routine (as stated above)... the easiest choice is definitely the pill, and I think a good multil-vitamin takes care of your daily needs for most minerals/vitamins. Okay, fine, I'm checking mine (Centrum advanced formula)... hmm, 100mg (25%) of daily recommended value. That means 1 pill a day leaves me with 300mg left to obtain.

      Now for my favorite part, the food. I love to cook, so off the top of my head here's a plan for a healthy, magnesium filled summer-appropriate supper (based upon stevemark's suggestions for foods with high amounts of magnesium):

      Grab a bunch of spinach and mustard greens, rinse thoroughly, and top with shelled sunflower seeds + olive oil/lemon juice dressing for the salad. For the main dish, take fillet of halibut and cut into long strips some zucchini and yellow baby squash. Baste with olive oil and seasonings of your choice, wrap in one layer of foil, and grill until done. Finish off with a raspberry-mint iced tea (use a raspberry tea bag and fresh, clean mint).

      Thanks for another informative and health-conscious hub, stevemark.

      -Nicki B.

    • Pete Michner profile image

      Pete Michner 9 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for the great information! Pumpkin seeds are great, I wonder if pumpkin pie has the mineral as well.