Due to chronic diseases, medications, increased consumption of processed foods, and the decreased amount of magnesium in food crop, the vast majority of people are at risk of magnesium deficiency. A person with magnesium deficiency has an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other health complications that can cost a fortune. While magnesium supplementation may be the immediate response, one must understand that many natural foods contain high amounts of magnesium, and these foods boost magnesium levels in the body.
What Is Magnesium?
This essential mineral and electrolyte plays a role in many bodily processes. Failing to satisfy the recommended daily intake of magnesium can affect energy production, DNA replication, muscle function, bone and teeth structure, and RNA and protein synthesis.
Magnesium deficiency is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can mimic similar symptoms of other conditions. From depression and digestive troubles to irregular sleep patterns and brain fog, magnesium deficiency is not something that should be ignored. How do you test for it, though?
Testing For Magnesium Deficiency
Tests for magnesium levels are often inaccurate. Blood tests for magnesium don’t account for the magnesium that is stored in bones and soft tissues. This is why it is best to test intracellular magnesium levels, not serum magnesium. The RBC test is an accurate test that measures the magnesium content within red blood cells, giving you an estimated count of magnesium in soft tissues and bones.
Optimal Magnesium Range
A functional and normal level of magnesium for the average person is above 6.0mg/dl. If you come in below this number, consider supplementation or consuming magnesium-rich foods, which you can view by clicking here. While checking magnesium levels, you may also want to test vitamin D levels, given that vitamin D and magnesium depend on each other for maximum absorption and function.
5 Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency
1. Muscle Cramps & Spasms
Magnesium works to support muscle function, and being deficient in magnesium can prevent muscles from properly contracting and relaxing. In fact, insufficient magnesium levels will often result in muscle cramps or spasms, especially in the feet and lower legs.
2. Digestive Troubles
As you begin to digest your food, it is mixed with saliva and stomach acid to form bolus, which is a semi-solid lump of food that moves through the digestive tract. In order for the bolus to move efficiently, it requires water. This is where magnesium matters. Magnesium works to draw water into the bowels to stimulate peristalsis, the process that keeps everything moving through the digestive tract. The bolus of food cannot move easily if magnesium levels are low, and this can result in bowel irregularity or constipation.
3. Anxiety And Stress
Magnesium plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that help nerves communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters help to regulate behaviors, including sleep patterns, mood, and more. Low magnesium levels can induce feelings of irritability, stress, and anxiety. A person with magnesium deficiency can also experience depression or confusion.
As we previously mentioned, magnesium is necessary neurotransmitter production, so that one can regulate mood, sleep, and behavior. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that is dependent on magnesium for production. It works to calm nerve activity and assist with total body relaxation. A GABA deficiency can make it difficult to fall asleep, let alone sleep through the night. Magnesium prepares the body and mind for sleep by promoting GABA production.
5. Cognitive Difficulty
Magnesium deficiency can result in many cognitive problems, including brain fog, memory problems, and one’s ability to concentrate. Magnesium works to help the mitochondria function optimally. Dig deep into your science class archives and remember that mitochondria are central structures within the cells in the body, and their job is to produce energy. Insufficient magnesium levels make it difficult for mitochondria in brain cells to produce energy, which makes it difficult to operate regular cognitive processes.