Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in your body. It is stored primarily in the bones of your body. A very small amount of magnesium circulates in your bloodstream. Magnesium participates in over 300 body reactions in your body. These reactions affect many of the body’s most important processes, including:
- protein synthesis
- cellular energy production and storage
- stabilization of cells
- DNA synthesis
- nerve signal transmission
- bone metabolism
- cardiac function
- the conduction of signals between muscles and nerves
- glucose and insulin metabolism
- blood pressure
Low Magnesium Side Effects
- decreased appetite
- muscle cramps
- muscle spasticity
- personality changes
- abnormal heart rhythms
Causes of Low Magnesium
Low magnesium is usually due to a decrease in the absorption of magnesium in the intestine or an increase in the release of magnesium in the urine. Low magnesium levels in healthy people are rare. This is because magnesium levels are highly regulated by the kidneys. The kidneys increase or decrease the release (magnesium) of magnesium based on what the body needs.
Continuous intake of magnesium, excessive loss of magnesium, or the presence of other chronic conditions can lead to hypomagnesemia.
Hypomagnesemia is more common in people in the hospital. This may be due to their illness, surgery, or medication. Very low magnesium levels are linked to poor outcomes for critically ill patients, in hospitals.
Factors that increase the risk of magnesium deficiency include gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, aging, type 2 diabetes, use of loop diuretics (such as Lasix), chemotherapy, and alcohol dependence.
Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and chronic diarrhea can interfere with the absorption of magnesium or lead to loss of magnesium.
Type 2 Diabetes
High concentrations of blood glucose can cause the kidneys to produce more urine. This also causes an increase in magnesium loss.
Magnesium absorption in the stomach usually decreases with age. Urinary magnesium excretion usually increases with age. Older adults eat fewer magnesium foods. They are more likely to take medications that can affect magnesium (such as diuretics). These substances can lead to hypomagnesemia in adults.
Diagnosis of low magnesium
Your doctor will diagnose hypomagnesemia based on physical examination, symptoms, medical history, and blood tests. Blood magnesium levels do not tell you the amount of magnesium your body stores in your bones and tissues. But it still helps to indicate that you have hypomagnesemia. Your doctor will also check your calcium and potassium levels.
The average serum (blood) level of magnesium is 1.8 to 2.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Serum magnesium below 1.8 mg/dL is considered low. A magnesium level below 1.25 mg/dL is considered to be the most severe hypomagnesemia.
Low Magnesium Treatment
Hypomagnesemia is usually treated with oral magnesium supplements and increased dietary magnesium supplementation.
It is estimated that 2 percent of the population is hypomagnesemia. This percentage is very high for people in the hospital. Studies estimate that nearly half of all Americans – and 70 to 80 percent of those over the age of 70 – do not meet their daily magnesium needs. Getting your magnesium in your diet is best unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Examples of foods rich in magnesium include:
- whole-grain cereal
- black beans
- whole wheat bread
- baked potato with the skin
What happens if your magnesium is low?
Extreme cases can cause muscle spasms and tremors (shakes that you can't control). Over time, low magnesium can weaken your bones, give you bad headaches, make you feel nervous, and even hurt your heart. It can also lead to low levels of other important minerals like calcium and potassium.
How do you fix magnesium deficiency?
1. reducing or avoiding calcium-rich foods two hours before or after eating magnesium-rich foods. 2. avoiding high-dose zinc supplements. 3. treating vitamin D deficiency. 4. eating raw vegetables instead of cooking them. 5. quitting smoking.
Can low magnesium cause hairloss?
While iron and zinc help with hair's shine and luster, magnesium plays an important role in promoting follicle hair growth, which results in healthy hair growth. Most experts agree that magnesium is nature's anti-stress mineral, which is a major component in hair loss.