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How a Magnesium Deficiency Affects Every System in Your Body

Anatomical systems

Magnesium deficiency affects a whopping 80% of the population according to statistics. I want you to picture the body as the universe. Every mineral is a planet and magnesium is the sun around which all other minerals revolve. This is because magnesium deficiency affects every system in your body.


Magnesium deficiency symptoms are not unique to the lack of this vital mineral. Thus many suffering from magnesium deficiency go undetected. Unfortunately, the symptomatic consequences of a magnesium deficiency are so widespread that they affect every part of the body. It is difficult to test accurately for magnesium deficiency due to a variety of factors.

Classic Signs and Symptoms Related to Magnesium Deficiency

• Depression
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Epilepsy
• Parkinson’s disease
• Sleep problems
• Migraine
• Cluster headaches
• Osteoporosis
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Chest pain (angina)
• Cardiac arrhythmias
• Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis
• Hypertension
• Type II diabetes
• Asthma

Now we are going to go on a journey into the complexity of every human system and explore a common link: magnesium deficiency. You will be astonished at the value of this seemingly insignificant mineral.

Skeletal System

Without magnesium our bones suffer because magnesium is critical for the absorption and metabolism of calcium. Magnesium assists in the production of the bone-preserving hormone from the parathyroid gland: calcitonin. Magnesium is a co-factor in the conversion of vitamin D to its bio-available form. The majority of the body’s reserves of magnesium are stored in the bones, 60% to be exact. Magnesium seeps into the bloodstream when our body needs to be replenished. Low magnesium reserves have been associated with osteoporosis in women.

Reproductive System

Glandular tissues like the testes and ovaries are very active. Magnesium is essential to the Kreb's cycle. There would be no cellular energy without magnesium. The testes and ovaries use large quantities of magnesium to maintain proper function. Magnesium also plays a critical role in the metabolism of calcium, and both of these minerals are critical for reproductive health in men and women.

Renal/Urinary System

Low magnesium levels are associated with having an increased risk of kidney failure. There is a common misconception that supplemental magnesium contributes to kidney disease. According to medical doctor Carolyn Dean: “With kidney failure there is an inability to clear magnesium from the kidneys.” The kidneys act as the body’s mineral filter, ensuring that essential minerals do not get dumped with the body’s waste. In times of stress, magnesium is flushed from the body in large quantities. The only other time that the kidneys flush magnesium is if there is a toxic amount in the body due to malabsorption. In a study conducted on patients with chronic kidney disease, they found that all of the patients had extremely high levels of serum magnesium and extremely low levels of ionized magnesium. After taking ionized magnesium, all of the patients improved.

Nervous System

A magnesium deficiency manifests itself in the nervous system through these symptoms: behavioral disturbances, irritability and anxiety, lethargy, impaired memory and cognitive function, brain fog, depression, anorexia or loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and seizures. Magnesium acts to calm the central nervous system and in a deficient state the brain and nerves become agitated.

Muscular System

One of the classic signs of magnesium deficiency is muscle cramping and spasms. This includes those horrible charlie-horses that have you doubled over in pain because muscles cannot relax without adequate magnesium. All muscle, including heart muscle, also cannot contract without magnesium. In a nutshell, your muscles are in a predicament without sufficient magnesium because they cannot relax or contract without a struggle. Magnesium regulates all muscle contractions.

Integumentary System

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Magnesium modulates insulin signal transduction, cell proliferation, and transmembrane transport of metal ions including potassium and calcium. The transdermal application of magnesium is quickly becoming known as one of the most effective ways to raise magnesium levels.

Endocrine System

Magnesium is involved in the production of certain hormones including thyroid hormone and steroid hormones like progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Magnesium also activates vitamin D for synthesis in the body. Magnesium is responsible in part for regulating the stress hormone cortisol. Without adequate magnesium, our cortisol levels shoot into excessive ranges.

Digestive System

Without magnesium, you cannot properly digest the food you eat. The muscles in your stomach cannot properly contract to grind and mix your food. Your digestive enzymes cannot be activated to break down your food. Without adequate magnesium, your undigested food will rot in your digestive tract and result in the proliferation of a bad gut microbiome.

Vascular System

A popular Harvard study examined the effects of magnesium upon blood pressure. There were 70,000 participants in this study, and the findings revealed that the participants with the highest magnesium levels also had the healthiest blood pressure numbers. Another University of Minnesota study found that the risk for hypertension was 70% lower in women with adequate magnesium.

If your magnesium to calcium ratio is stabilized it will help to prevent the calcification of veins and arteries. This occurs due to the body’s inability to properly metabolize calcium, and the presence of sufficient magnesium is vital to ensure the proper absorption of calcium in the body.

Respiratory System

According to this PubMed article, magnesium deficiency is a common electrolyte disorder in patients with acute severe asthma. Another PubMed article stated: “During the past few years, there has been an increase in calcium consumption in the US population but little change in magnesium intake, which has caused an imbalance in the calcium:magnesium ratio. Although serum levels are used to assess magnesium deficiency, cells can be deficient despite normal serum values. These findings indicate that pulmonary patients should be monitored routinely for magnesium deficiency.”

Lymphatic/Immune System

Your immune system cannot function either without magnesium. According to this PubMed article magnesium acts: “As a cofactor for immunoglobulin synthesis, C'3 convertase, immune cell adherence, antibody-dependent cytolysis, IgM lymphocyte binding, macrophage response to lymphokines, T helper-B cell adherence, binding of substance P to lymphoblasts and antigen binding to macrophage RNA.” Just one of many magnesium deficiency symptoms in rats was thymus gland atrophy. Magnesium can even play a protective role in acute allergic reactions.

My Favorite Ways to Fix a Magnesium Deficiency:

• Epsom salts
• Cardiovascular Laboratories Magnesium taurate
• Ancient Minerals Magnesium oil
• Hyland’s Bioplasma


If you want to learn more about this scary deficiency and what you can do to correct it, I refer you to Carolyn Dean’s book: “The Magnesium Miracle”. I will never cease to be amazed at how our body adapts to both dietary and environmental abuse, but it is apparent that our body’s functions are impaired quite drastically when it comes to a deficiency of magnesium. Every system of your body is balanced by this essential mineral, and thus it is very important that we remain proactive in ensuring that our magnesium levels are optimal.

Check out these other great articles by EMaxHealth: Magnesium: This Mineral May Help Reduce Your Risk of Disease, Why You Need More Magnesium Now, and Discover the Benefits of Magnesium.