- Magnesium is a super mineral that’s responsible for over 600 enzyme reactions in the body. Magnesium also plays a vital role in muscle health, nervous system function, hormone balance, sleep quality, and mental health stability.
- In today’s world, it’s difficult to get enough magnesium through food — since mineral levels in conventional soil are so low. Magnesium has also been removed from most water sources. For these reasons, a lot of otherwise healthy people are deficient in magnesium and may need to get it through supplementation.
- Low magnesium can be caused by so much more than just a nutrition deficit. Chronic stress, alcohol use, dehydration, prescription medication (like SSRI’s), and digestive issues can all contribute to magnesium deficiency.
When faced with a chronic illness or serious medical diagnosis, mineral deficiency is probably the last thing on your mind.
But it shouldn’t be.
These small but mighty elements are a big deal when it comes to your metabolism and energy production. Minerals are essential for muscle and nerve function as well as bone and tooth structure, to name a few things.
Magnesium especially is a super mineral — responsible for over 600 enzyme reactions in your body. Deficiency in magnesium (medically referred to as “hypomagnesemia”) can cause things like digestive issues, brain fog, anxiety, muscle cramps, and more.
We should pay special attention to magnesium since it’s extremely depleted in our soil supply. Even with a healthy diet of fruits and veggies, it’s difficult to meet the daily minimum of magnesium with food alone.
Here’s everything you need to know about magnesium and your health.
Why Do We Need Magnesium?
One study says magnesium plays “An instrumental role in supporting and sustaining health and life.” More specifically, magnesium supports the nervous system, assists with energy production and stability, helps to balance calcium ion flow in neuronal calcium channels, and it’s vital to muscle health. This is why someone with achy joints might take a magnesium supplement or magnesium salt bath.
Without magnesium, the body will begin to lose its grip on essential brain and body functions. And unfortunately, Mg deficiency is not typically looked at as a root cause issue.
What Does Magnesium Deficiency Mean for Your Health?
Magnesium is used by every organ in the body — so deficiency can be really problematic. Low magnesium will affect your health even if you don’t realize it.
Magnesium helps you to regulate sleep, mood, and assists in energy production.
Low magnesium has been associated with conditions like Parkinson’s disease, migraines, depression, epilepsy, high blood pressure, and various heart conditions.
What Causes Low Magnesium?
Magnesium deficiency might take you by surprise! Here are some sneaky causes of low magnesium you should watch out for. And, if you’re confident your magnesium levels are okay, it doesn’t hurt to do mineral testing every few months just to check in.
Causes of low magnesium levels include:
- Lack of minerals in the soil supply
- Alcohol use
- Digestive disorders (IBS, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease)
- Certain prescription medications (antibiotics, SSRIs)
- Chronic illness or chronic stress
- Thyroid issues
- Gastric bypass surgery (due to low absorption)
Effects and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Want to know if you have low magnesium? One way to find out is to try mineral testing. But you can also tell by checking your symptoms!
These are some possible symptoms of magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle aches
- Sleepiness, grogginess, or insomnia
- Heart palpitations (in extreme cases)
- Restless leg syndrome
- Hormone imbalances
- Craving magnesium-rich foods (see list below)
The Link Between Anxiety and Low Magnesium
Our customers report lower levels of anxiety after balancing their magnesium levels — and a more stable mood overall.
Studies do suggest that magnesium could play a vital role in easing anxiety and mental health disorders. This is great news — especially since magnesium supplementation is so easy. However, we are still waiting on more conclusive studies.
If you do suffer from anxiety, we recommend mineral testing or trying a magnesium supplement for a few months to see if it helps alleviate your symptoms. You may be surprised!
The Link Between Depression and Low Magnesium
When you’re stuck in a deep depressive episode, it might feel like nothing can drag you out. But getting supplemental magnesium daily could be all you need to start your journey to healing.
One study explains, “In magnesium deficiency, neuronal requirements for magnesium may not be met, causing neuronal damage which could manifest as depression.”
If you’re struggling with depression, magnesium supplementation is an easy way to support your brain without doing anything drastic. It also might be worth trying magnesium before SSRIs, too, since they are known to deplete magnesium stores even more.
“Magnesium was found usually effective for treatment of depression in general use,” the same study reports.
Treatment for Magnesium Deficiency
The best treatment for magnesium deficiency is typically supplements. We prefer liquid minerals — since they’re easier for your body to absorb. You can also increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods, but likely this won’t have the physiologic effect you need due to depleted soil (even organic soil!).
Another treatment for low magnesium is topical lotions or bath salts. These can be easily absorbed through your skin and may even decrease the appearance of acne, rashes, and other skin conditions. Using both a topical and an oral treatment can be beneficial to tackle low magnesium.
Tip: Magnesium supplements can actually dehydrate you, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and electrolytes while supplementing. For some, it can also act as a natural laxative.
Foods for Low Magnesium
If you suspect your magnesium levels may be low, try adding these foods to your diet. The best way to ensure higher levels of magnesium in your groceries is to buy organic or local, regeneratively sourced produce.
- Seafood like salmon, crab, and halibut
- Whole grains (minimally processed)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Legumes (lentils, black beans, chickpeas, peas)
- High quality dark chocolate
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, arugula)
- Nuts and seeds
- Some dairy products like high-quality milk and yogurt
- Mineral rich water
- Coconut water
Supplement Your Magnesium Levels with BodyBio
de Baaij, J. H., Hoenderop, J. G., & Bindels, R. J. (2015). Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiological reviews, 95(1), 1–46. https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00012.2014
Cheungpasitporn, W., Thongprayoon, C., Mao, M. A., Srivali, N., Ungprasert, P., Varothai, N., Sanguankeo, A., Kittanamongkolchai, W., & Erickson, S. B. (2015). Hypomagnesaemia linked to depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Internal medicine journal, 45(4), 436–440. https://doi.org/10.1111/imj.12682
Cazzola, R., Della Porta, M., Manoni, M., Iotti, S., Pinotti, L., & Maier, J. A. (2020). Going to the roots of reduced magnesium dietary intake: A tradeoff between climate changes and sources. Heliyon, 6(11), e05390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e05390
Eby, G. A., & Eby, K. L. (2006). Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Medical hypotheses, 67(2), 362–370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.047
Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161–1169.