Brain and Memory Care Fibromyalgia Sleep

23 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency- the most common mineral deficiency

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: September 8, 2017
signs of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium -the wonder mineral!

DO you have signs of magnesium deficiency? I’ll bet you do and just don’t know it. Why? It’s estimated that a full 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium, which could have a dramatic influence on overall health and well-being. The health benefits of magnesium are numerous and astounding. Stay with me to see if you’re one of the 80%.

Magnesium plays a large role in the strength and firmness of bones and makes teeth harder. Since magnesium participates in an enormous array of biochemical reactions, it’s no surprise that it’s essential for healthy bones and teeth.

signs of magnesium deficiencyMost notably, adequate magnesium is essential for absorption and metabolism of calcium. Even mild Mg++ deficiency is reported to be a leading risk factor for osteoporosis.

If you are familiar with magnesium this is likely as far as your knowledge base has gotten you. Most doctors (for crying out loud) don’t know any more either. You’ll be amazed at all of the symptoms and signs of magnesium deficiency as well as all the health benefits of magnesium levels which are high enough. Here are some “fun facts” first.

Magnesium is a necessary co-factor in 80% of our cellular enzymes….more than 300 different enzymes!

Researchers have detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its’ role in human health has been truly underestimated. To date more than one hundred health benefits of magnesium have been identified with more to come I’m sure. I’ll cover the “biggies” here. Based on information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), magnesium is practically a wonder supplement. Yet, again, few people know about it, and few doctors recommend it. It helps maintain muscles and nerves, regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and prevents heart attacks. And much more. It plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes, making it important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins.

What about lab tests for this?

Believe it or not, there is not one regular lab test that will give you an accurate reading of the magnesium status in your tissues. Only one percent of the magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a sample of magnesium from a blood test highly inaccurate. Some specialty labs do provide an red blood cell magnesium test, and a 24 hour urine test which are closer in accuracy but still not so “hot.” It is really something diagnosed more by symptoms and signs so here they are. See if you can “spot” yourself. Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is one of the signs of magnesium deficiency.

Some of possible signs of Magnesium Deficiency:

Muscle cramps or twitches



Chronic fatigue-CFIDS






Angina via coronary spasms




Irritable bowel syndrome


High blood pressure

Kidney stones

Numbness and tingling



Menstrual cramps


Increased CRP levels

Let me now touch on some well-known health benefits of magnesium for specific medical issues.

Magnesium for Fibromyalgia:

health benefits of magnesiumFibromyalgia is currently being hotly debated as a biotoxin illness. That’s right- the cause of fibromyalgia might be something as mundane as mold!

The muscle weakness, fatigue and pain that is experienced in fibromyalgia might very well be due to such severe magnesium deficiency that the muscles are in a constant state of spasm.

These constant tiny  muscle spasms causes pain and it uses up the energy stores in the muscles.

This then causes fatigue, making magnesium one of the easiest and best natural treatments for fibromyalgia.

This might also explain:

Sleep Issues

Muscle aches and stiffness with muscle soreness relief involving a simple dose of magnesium

Headaches and the connection of magnesium for the treatment of migraines

Anxiety and stress

Every study that has used magnesium has shown across the board improvements in the pain and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia.

Magnesium for CFIDS:

 An important part of the cycle of oxidative stress typical of multi-system illnesses like CFIDS is the chronic excitability of NMDA receptors. This over-excitability results in a hyperactive nervous system. In addition; the carnage includes cellular damage, inflammation, and lowered production of ATP by mitochondrial cells of respiration. Magnesium is one of the principal inhibitors of NMDA activity, which makes it valuable for treating oxidative stress. In addition to its contribution to oxidative stress, some researchers feel that low magnesium levels is a sign of mitochondrial failure. When mitochondria fail, calcium leaks into cells and magnesium leaks out. Recall blood measurements of Mg++ are useless and due to the big losses postulated, this is why supplementation is so very effective.

Magnesium and high blood sugar:

Two studies have specifically looked at this issue. One study found that people who increased magnesium intake over a 16 week period had better glucose control. They had lowered fasting glucose and HBG-A-1-C levels. The other study did not find any correlation between Mg++ supplementation and glucose control. Note that these studies were done with diabetics, not those with insulin resistance where Mg++ supplementation has been (conclusively) found to improve glucose levels. Results from three very large studies indicate that people who consume a diet rich in Mg++ have a lower risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium and sleep

Magnesium plays an important role in hydration, muscle relaxation, energy production and the deactivation of adrenaline. Having sufficient magnesium in your body does not necessarily guarantee that you will go into a deep sleep quickly and stay there, but insufficient stores of this mineral guarantees that you won’t. Think about that. How’s your sleep?

Magnesium is vital for the function of GABA receptors, which exist across all areas of the brain and nervous system. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter that the brain requires to switch off. Without GABA our thoughts race and we lie in bed unable to switch off our day.

Whether the brain is in ‘on’ or ‘off’ mode is complex and involves other brain chemicals. However,  the most important balance is that of GABA vs glutamate. Whereas GABA calms, glutamate fires the brain into higher states of activity. You need enough of what might be the best natural sleep aid for you– Mg++; for enough GABA to be able to shut down your brain and fall asleep.

Magnesium and constipation:

One side effect of taking too much magnesium is diarrhea so the reverse is obviously true. Often, someone with chronic constipation can get rapid constipation relief simply by adding magnesium supplements to their diet!

Magnesium and cognition:

One type of magnesium supplement which crosses the blood brain barrier has been demonstrated to support cognitive function as we age. It happens to be the best magnesium supplement for a multitude of reasons with #1 being that it’s so good for your brain.

More about this form of magnesium in a bit when I discuss types of supplements. It happens to be the form of magnesium that is being used in  two Alzheimer’s clinical trials right now. You probably would like to know how to keep the magnesium you have, right? So, let’s discuss.

How to hang onto your Magnesium:

Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol

Learn how to practice active relaxation

Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs and all diuretics cause loss of magnesium)

Eat foods High in Magnesium

Almonds- Brazil nuts- Cashews- Pecans- Sesame Seeds- Soybeans -Sunflower Seeds- Walnuts- Spinach- Swiss Chard- Sea Vegetables- Mustard Greens- Broccoli- Peas- Green Beans- Black Beans- Beets-  Bananas-Pumpkin seeds-Avocados- Figs-Dates-Filberts-Collard greens-Wild caught shrimp-Parsley-Dandelion greens and Garlic!

Take a Himalayan crystal bath salts bath or (not quite as good but still good)) an Epsom salts bath

Take the correct magnesium supplement

Magnesium Supplementation:

Increases energy

Helps insomnia

Decreases pain

Is anti-inflammatory

Reduces oxidative stress

Taking  Magnesium Supplements:

The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day. Most of us get far less than 200 mg. Most people benefit from 400 to 1,000+ mg a day. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate, taurate, or aspartate. And of course the darling of the anti-aging world-magnesium “threonate”- considered by most researchers and clinicians to be the best type of magnesium supplement.

The one form that “does it all” including having demonstrable brain health benefits is a form of magnesium threonate containing a patented ingredient called magtein. This is the only form of magnesium which crosses the blood brain barrier. That means that you also get the brain boosting benefits as well as every other benefit mentioned above. It’s one of the best supplements for memory that there is. It’s the master brain mineral, making it to my  best brain supplements list as the only must-have mineral supplement.


  1. I could not find something for anxiety and amazing amazing-the magnesium threonate did it!

  2. You nailed it-I got your Mg threonate and NOW sleep like a baby as you would say!

  3. Wow, I couldn’t sleep, tryed this product from your site, and within 2 days I was sleeping like a baby! Cool!

  4. I was not aware about Magnesium and what it can do for our bodies. I suffer from many of the items you listed. I will be ordering Magnesium to make a change in how I feel daily. Thank you for writing about this and making more of us aware of such a deficiencies.

  5. I have been suffering from Fibromyalgia pain for years. After finding out that I was suffering from magnesium deficiency, I began taking it. I feel so much better now and the pain has subsided. I feel like the old me. I wish I would have known about this years ago. I hope that you continue to write about this so that other people will be informed about this deficiency like I was.

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