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Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency

What Is Magnesium Deficiency?

Your body is a breathtaking symphony of intricate biochemical pathways working in harmony every second of your life. We often take for granted the many facets that make up our bodies and how these simple elements and chemical reactions compose our very being. One small component of our body’s composition is magnesium. Magnesium, along with calcium, potassium, chloride, and sodium are all electrolytes, needed for our brain, nerves, heart, eyes, immune system, and muscles to function.


What happens when you have a magnesium deficiency?

We function best when magnesium in our body is at its optimal level. When we are lacking in this mineral, or suffering from a magnesium deficiency, our perfect symphony is out of tune, and this disharmony leads us down a path to health problems.


One of the most overlooked nutrient deficiencies that I find as a functional medicine practitioner is magnesium deficiency. As the fourth most abundant mineral (1) in your body, magnesium is crucial to accomplishing at least 300 important biochemical reactions. If you are magnesium deficient (like 50 to 90 percent of us are), (2) you are most likely experiencing some symptoms.


What Causes Magnesium Deficiency? Why are my Magnesium Levels Low?

Why are so many lacking in magnesium? There are four primary reasons:

  • Poor nutrition

  • Medications that deplete magnesium (such as antibiotics and diuretics)

  • Soil depletion

  • Chronic gut problems (e.g., leaky gut syndrome), which can compromise magnesium absorption

The above reasons are common and are major contributors to the population being so deficient as a whole, but they do not always lead to a magnesium deficiency. The following list contains common health issues that are tied to magnesium deficiency


The Top 17 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

  1. ADHD

  2. Adrenal fatigue

  3. Depression or anxiety

  4. Asthma

  5. Chronic fatigue syndrome

  6. High blood pressure

  7. Heart problems

  8. Inflammation

  9. Migraines and other types of headaches

  10. Insulin resistance

  11. Low thyroid hormone levels

  12. Muscle cramps and spasms

  13. Premature aging

  14. Poor memory

  15. Skin health

  16. Sleep trouble

  17. Weak bones


What are the different types of magnesium?

There are six main different types of magnesium. They are magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, magnesium taurate, magnesium L-threonate, and magnesium glycinate.

1. Magnesium citrate

Magnesium citrate is a form of magnesium that’s bound to citric acid.

This acid is found naturally in citrus fruits and gives them their tart, sour flavor. Artificially produced citric acid is often used as a preservative and flavor enhancer in the food industry (3).


Magnesium citrate is one of the most common magnesium formulations and can be easily purchased online or in stores worldwide.


Some research suggests that this type is among the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, meaning that it’s more easily absorbed in your digestive tract than other forms.


It’s typically taken orally to replenish low magnesium levels. Due to its natural laxative effect, it’s also sometimes used at higher doses to treat constipation.

2. Magnesium oxide

Magnesium oxide is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen.

It naturally forms a white, powdery substance and may be sold in powder or capsule form. It’s also the main active ingredient in milk of magnesia, a popular over-the-counter medication for constipation relief (6).


This type isn’t typically used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiencies, as some studies report that it’s poorly absorbed by your digestive tract.

Instead, it’s more frequently used for short-term relief of uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. It may also be used to treat and prevent migraines.

3. Magnesium malate

Magnesium malate includes malic acid, which occurs naturally in foods like fruit and wine. This acid has a sour taste and is often used as a food additive to enhance flavor or add acidity.


Research suggests that magnesium malate is very well absorbed in your digestive tract, making it a great option for replenishing your magnesium levels.


Some people report that it’s gentler on your system and may have less of a laxative effect than other types. This may be beneficial, depending on your specific needs.


Magnesium malate is occasionally recommended as a treatment for symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

4. Magnesium taurate

Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid taurine.

Research suggests that adequate intakes of taurine and magnesium play a role in regulating blood sugar. Thus, this particular form may promote healthy blood sugar levels (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

Magnesium and taurine also support healthy blood pressure (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).


A recent animal study revealed that magnesium taurate significantly reduced blood pressure in rats with high levels, indicating that this form may bolster heart health.

5. Magnesium L-threonate

Magnesium L-threonate is the salt formed from mixing magnesium and threonic acid, a water-soluble substance derived from the metabolic breakdown of vitamin C (21).


This form is easily absorbed. Animal research notes that it may be the most effective type for increasing magnesium concentrations in brain cells.

Magnesium L-threonate is often used for its potential brain benefits and may help manage certain brain disorders, such as depression and age-related memory loss. Nonetheless, more research is needed.

6. Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine.


Your body employs this amino acid in protein construction. It also occurs in many protein-rich foods, such as fish, meat, dairy, and legumes.


Glycine is often used as a standalone dietary supplement to improve sleep and treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.


Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed and may have calming properties. It may help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia. Yet, scientific evidence on these uses is limited, so more studies are needed.


let dr. Hugh wegwerth help you decide magnesium citrate vs glycinate


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