Magnesium deficiency: Symptoms and supplementing magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is a mineral that many people and perhaps also animals are deficient in. It is essential for the transport of glucose and is also important for the release of insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Since magnesium is particularly indispensable for energy production, stimulus transmission, protein production, bone building, etc., the complaints caused by a magnesium deficiency are diverse. For example, it can cause muscle complaints, but diabetes and insulin resistance are also linked to a magnesium deficiency. And heart complaints, increased blood pressure, anxiety, lethargy and headaches, etc. Magnesium is strongly intertwined with vitamin B6, because magnesium needs this vitamin to get into the cells. It also binds to calcium so that it can be stored in bones and bones.

  • General
  • What does magnesium contain?
  • Functions of magnesium
  • Symptoms of magnesium deficiency
  • Recommended amount of magnesium


Magnesium is a substance that is always bound to another substance such as citrate, glycinine or pidolate. These compounds act as the carrier of magnesium and ensure that it can be absorbed into the body. However, these connecting substances can also be functional themselves. For example, citrate, the bound form of citric acid, is involved in the production of energy, because ATP is formed in one of the steps in the citric acid cycle. This ATP is the carrier of energy and is active in almost all processes in body cells that require energy. These processes convert the ATP into ADP. Among other things, magnesium plays a role in ATP production through the citric acid cycle and the associated enzyme reactions. It therefore regulates the release of energy from the cell. Fatigue can therefore be caused by a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium controls more than 600 different enzymes in the body and therefore has a major influence on all kinds of processes in the body. Because the body cannot produce magnesium itself, the magnesium supply in the body is dependent on what you eat and drink.

Soil depletion

Unfortunately, the Dutch soil and the soils in many surrounding countries are exhausted and therefore contain too little magnesium. So, for example, vegetables will contain much less magnesium than they used to. That is why many people and animals nowadays suffer from a magnesium deficiency.

What does magnesium contain?

Cocoa, including dark chocolate, also contains a lot of magnesium. It is sometimes claimed that people who have a strong need for chocolate actually need more magnesium. Magnesium can also be found in small amounts in grain products, dark green leafy vegetables, milk and milk products, meat, nuts and legumes. But these foods often do not contain enough magnesium to meet the recommended daily amount. That is why it is a good idea, especially if you suffer from one or more of the above complaints, to take extra magnesium. This can be done by means of tablets, capsules or powder and even by applying magnesium oil to the skin.

Functions of magnesium

Magnesium in the body is needed for:

  • good heart muscle function
  • the relaxation of muscles and nerves (also regulating blood pressure)
  • the activity of more than 600 different enzymes that initiate chemical reactions throughout the body
  • bound to phosphate it gives strength to the skeleton
  • Magnesium ions help maintain osmotic balance and acidity in the blood.
  • Magnesium has an influence on irritability in the motor muscle cells
  • regulation of blood sugar levels, calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin D
  • necessary for cell wall communication (think of neurotransmitters, for example)
  • Together with malic acid, magnesium citrate plays a key role in the production of ATP

Magnesium plays a role in (muscle) relaxation, nerve transmission, energy production, bone and tooth formation. It has a relaxing effect and is essential for the production of enzymes and hormones. Magnesium deficiencies can also contribute to arteriosclerosis. Magnesium is therefore one of the most important minerals in the body. 1

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

The list of possible complaints is long, including:

  • Muscle cramps, for example in the gastrointestinal tract and poor muscle function
  • Fatigue even with mild exertion due to a deficiency of the closely related vitamin B6, which means that magnesium cannot or hardly enter the cells
  • Tics
  • Disturbances in the nervous system
  • Insomnia
  • Headache or migraine
  • Type II diabetes
  • hyperactivity,
  • High bloodpressure
  • Constipation
  • PMS
  • Depression
  • Dizziness, nausea, light-headedness, fainting and weakness


Muscle complaints are one of the symptoms that are common with magnesium deficiency. And they can express themselves in all kinds of ways. For example, one can suffer from muscle pain, but also from cramps in the muscles. And restless legs can also indicate a magnesium deficiency.

Many of the above complaints have to do with the fact that the body cannot relax properly without enough magnesium. For example, tics, but also insomnia and headaches can be a consequence of this.

Recommended amount of magnesium

According to the Dutch Health Council, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 250-350 milligrams for women and 300-350 mg for men. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need 480 mg daily. An increased need for magnesium can be caused by chronic illness, stress, intensive sports practice, sugar and alcohol consumption and use of diuretics. Mild diarrhea can occur with an oral dose of 500 mg per day of elemental magnesium.
30 to 40% of magnesium is reabsorbed from food. After absorption, the magnesium is carried by the blood to the tissues and finally the excess amount is excreted via the kidneys. The rest of the magnesium absorbed from food is lost.

Tablets, capsules and powder

Magnesium is available in various compounds. There are organic and inorganic magnesium compounds. The bioavailability of organically bound elements (occurring in nature) is generally much higher than that of inorganic compounds. Commonly used organic magnesium compounds are: L-aspartate, arginate, ascorbate, citrate, gluconate, glutamate, (bis)glycinate, lactate, malate, nicotinate, orotate and amino acid chelated magnesium. Magnesium citrate has the advantage that it is absorbed within a few minutes and does not overstimulate the intestines as sulphate and oxide do. Glycinate, on the other hand, is a compound with the neurotransmitter glycine and therefore helps to relax mentally.

Examples of inorganic forms are oxides, sulphates and chlorides. These cheaper compounds of magnesium are more compact and can be incorporated into supplements in higher doses. However, they dissolve slightly less easily in water and require a strongly acidic environment to break the magnesium bond. If combination formulas with magnesium consisting of the positively charged magnesium ion (Mg2+) bound to negatively charged oxide, sulphate or chloride are less well tolerated, such as with weak digestion and/or reduced stomach acid production, it is worthwhile to take an organic magnesium compound. . These people may also be better off taking magnesium in powder form. Finally, magnesium can also be injected.

Magnesium oil

But perhaps the simplest way to get extra magnesium is by rubbing magnesium oil on the skin or by taking a (foot) bath with magnesium oil in it. The advantage is that you do not have to take it and that the magnesium is immediately absorbed through the skin. It can also be used very locally, for example on a painful spot on the back. A spray of magnesium oil contains approximately 15 mg magnesium chloride. For 400 mg magnesium you need approximately 25 pumps per day. And it really spreads very easily on the skin. But a foot bath a few times a week is also possible. And that is wonderfully relaxing.

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