low magnesium dangersThis “Master Mineral” is absolutely essential for over 300 metabolic processes in the body. This mineral is so vital to human health, only oxygen and water surpass it in importance. Yet, the World Health Organization estimates as many as 80% of Americans are deficient in this mineral.[1]

The mineral is magnesium. And neurosurgeon Dr. C. Norman Shealy, claims,

“Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency.”[2] Click to Tweet.

In her book, The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, lists 56 conditions that have a direct clinical correlation to magnesium deficiency and respond to treatment with magnesium supplementation. Some of the medical conditions linked to a magnesium deficiency include:[3]

  • Acid reflux
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angina
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Blood clots
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Nerve problems
  • Obstetrical and gynecological problems
  • Muscle cramps, spasms, twitches, etc.
  • Parkinson’s disease


Why is Magnesium Deficiency so Wide-Spread?  

In 1900, the average American consumed about 500 mg of magnesium per day. Today, we barely manage 175-225 mg per day—about half of the FDA’s minimum daily requirement.[4] There are several reasons for this decline in magnesium intake:

  1. take magnesium for migrainesModern farming methods that rely heavily on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides have drastically depleted the soil of minerals.[5]
  2. Drinking water can be a great source of magnesium. But drinking water from urban sources generally comes from surface water, in which magnesium is low or absent. Also, if fluoride is added to the public water, it binds with magnesium making it insoluble.[6] And softening water removes magnesium. Added to all this, few people drink enough water to begin with.
  3. Processed foods have been stripped of their fiber, which is generally what contains magnesium. Dr. Dean explains, “The typical American diet, which is rich in fat, sugar, salt, synthetic vitamin D, phosphates, protein, and supplemental calcium, not only is deficient in magnesium but actually increases the need for magnesium in the body.”[7]
  4. Calcium supplementation to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis is especially common among women, who are more prone to magnesium deficiency than men.[8] The problem is that calcium supplementation without corresponding magnesium supplementation depletes magnesium, because magnesium is required for the body to effectively use calcium.[9]
  5. Many common pharmaceuticals are known to cause a magnesium deficiency. Diuretics, antibiotics, painkillers and cortisone can all deplete magnesium in the body. Other drugs increase the body’s need for magnesium, resulting in low magnesium levels.[10]

In the medical community, magnesium deficiency is largely overlooked. The result is that many physical ailments are being treated needlessly with expensive drugs that may actually be contributing to the problem rather than solving it.[11]

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Testing for magnesium levels in the body is extremely difficult. According to the National Institutes of Health, “No single method [for assessing magnesium status] is considered satisfactory.”[12] For this reason, we need to rely on a combination of lab tests and assessment of common magnesium deficiency symptoms.

Following is a list of symptoms that may indicate a magnesium deficiency, especially if you are experiencing several of these:[13], [14], [15]

  • Calcium deficiency
  • Heart problems
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Poor memory
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Body odor
  • Constipation
  • Poor dental health
  • Kidney stones
  • Gut disorders
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Low energy
  • Hormonal imbalances

How to Boost your Magnesium Levels

The FDA recommends a daily allowance of 320-420 mg for adults. However, for optimum health, some experts push that to 500-750 mg per day.[16] There are two primary ways to increase your intake of magnesium: through diet and supplementation.

Increase your magnesium levels daily by eating whole foods.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that if a food has fiber, it has magnesium. Click to Tweet.

magnesium foodsFoods that are especially rich in magnesium include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Squash
  • Dried beans and lentils
  • Whole grains: oat meal, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
  • Avocados
  • Sage and basil
  • Organic dairy products
  • Dark chocolate with 70% or higher cacao

Be sure to buy organic to obtain the optimum levels of magnesium in those foods. Also, drink plenty of water. Ensure that your drinking water contains magnesium, or find a source that does.

When supplementing with magnesium, it’s important to choose a reputable source. Dr. Dean recommends magnesium citrate and encourages a 1:1 ratio of magnesium and calcium supplementation.[17]

When supplementing with magnesium, it’s important to choose a ratio a 1:1 ratio of magnesium and calcium supplementation. Click to Tweet.

Remember, if you’re eating magnesium-rich foods every day, you are merely augmenting your magnesium levels with supplements. So, start out slowly with a magnesium supplement as it can cause loose stools.Magnesium is essential to optimum health with a direct relationship to virtually every system in the body.

You may be one of the 8 out of 10 Americans living with a magnesium deficiency.

Armed with the information presented here, assess your need to increase your magnesium intake. Make dietary changes and begin supplementing with magnesium to make up the difference. Magnesium—the “master mineral” can leverage huge benefits in your health at very little cost.

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Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.


[1] David Templeton, “Is Magnesium Deficiency a Hidden Clue to Many Ailments?” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as published in Alaska Dispatch News, December 1, 2014, http://www.adn.com/article/20141201/magnesium-deficiency-hidden-clue-many-ailments.
[2] David Templeton.
[3] Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, The Magnesium Miracle, New York: Ballantine Books eBook Edition, 2014, Introduction.
[4] Carolyn Dean, Introduction.
[5] Paul Fassa, “16 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms – Signs of Low Magnesium Levels,” Natural Society, April 1, 2013, http://naturalsociety.com/16-magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-signs-low-levels/.
[6] Wellness Mama, “Are You Low on Magnesium,” 2012, http://wellnessmama.com/3610/magnesium-deficiency/.
[7] Carolyn Dean as quoted in Ancient Minerals, “Causes of a Lack of Magnesium,” Ancient Minerals, nd, http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/causes-depletion/.
[8] WebMD, “Magnesium,” 2009, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-998-MAGNESIUM.aspx?activeIngredientId=998&activeIngredientName=MAGNESIUM.
[9] Ancient Minerals, “Causes of a Lack of Magnesium,” nd, http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/causes-depletion/.
[10] Ancient Minerals, “Causes of a Lack of Magnesium.”
[11] Dr. Mark Sircus, “Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms and Diagnosis,” GreenMedInfo, May 20, 2013, http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-and-diagnosis.
[12] National Institutes of Health, “Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals,” nd, http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.
[13] Paul Fassa.
[14] Wellness Mama.
[15] Dr. Mark Sircus.
[16] Ancient Minerals, “Magnesium Deficiency,” nd, http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/.
[17] David Templeton.