Magnesium is vital for our bodies. And yet 10- to 20 of the people are affected by a magnesium deficiency. What are the causes of this undersupply?
Causes of magnesium deficiency in diet
Our diet can be a cause of the deficiency. If we feed ourselves on one side, our magnesium requirements are not sufficiently met. If sport or other stress is added, the body lacks the important trace element. “Normal” food intake is not always a problem. No, the opposite may also be the case: if we eat too little, it leads to fewer nutrients. Therefore, we should also pay attention to a sufficient nutrient intake during a diet.
Increased need and deficiency of the mineral when taking medication
What a drug does: hopefully help us. Whatever it does, among other things, we are taking valuable minerals from us by excretion, which are necessary for the degradation of residues. Which drugs should be cited as the cause? Such as
- medicines to reduce immune function
Alcohol as a magnesium thief
Those who drink too much alcohol often get an unwanted pet: the bad hangover called magnesium thief. Due to an increased fluid excretion and probably also metabolic disorders, magnesium is removed from the body. Even worse is when there is far too much alcohol in the blood, and even vomiting, because the loss of fluid is then even greater. But it’s also different. In moderation, for example, beer carries a lot of magnesium into our bodies.
A higher need in pregnancy
In pregnancy, there may be an increased need and thus the cause of a magnesium deficiency, because the mineral is excreted to a higher extent. In addition, magnesium is important for the growth of the embryo. The German Society for Nutrition suggests an intake of 310 mg. This is 0.1 mg more than in women between 19 and under 25 years of age.
Magnesium deficiency due to stress
When it is stressful, the valuable mineral secretly makes its way out of the dust. Through the released cortisol, magnesium is excreted through the kidneys. This is fatal: because the mineral counteracts a higher cortisol release. With a higher intake of magnesium you can break this vicious circle.
Magnesium deficiency and competitive sports
Athletes have a higher magnesium requirement, because we also lose magnesium through our sweat. Through sport, we additionally put our body in a stressful situation and excrete magnesium. However, a short-term intake does not help here. Magnesium should be supplemented in the long term. In people with average workouts, enough magnesium tends to be absorbed through the diet.
What the kidney has to do with magnesium deficiency
Loss of magnesium via the kidney is a common cause of magnesium deficiency. How does this happen? The kidneys control the level of magnesium excretion and are responsible for regulation. If there is too much magnesium, more is excreted. If there is a deficiency, our kidneys try to channel the mineral back into the bloodstream. It is important to know that the stress of stress, pregnancy or high alcohol consumption plays a major role in this.
Heart disease, diabetes mellitus and chronic bowel disease can be the cause of a deficiency. Why? In case of problems with the heart, it is important to have the magnesiumand potassium value checked regularly, because magnesium deficiency can cause mild or severe rhythm disturbances. In diabetes mellitus, a magnesium deficiency is even involved in the formation and in certain cases leads to large losses of the mineral. Taking it has a positive effect on the symptoms. For example, higher magnesium intake with improvements in symptoms of polyneuropathy can be observed. As the pharmacist newspaper writes, an additional magnesium intake of 300 – 500 mg or in some cases more is advisable in type 1 / 2 diabetics.
Chronic magnesium deficiency: What are the causes?
A chronic deficiency can affect almost all the causes we have described so far:
- One-sided diet
- Persistent stress
- Kidney function
- Chronic diseases
If you notice a persistent deficiency, please contact your doctor.
Online test for magnesium deficiency
We have prepared a questionnaire to help you identify a magnesium deficiency. This test is a guideline, does not claim to be exhaustive and can therefore be an indication of a defect if two or more questions are answered with “yes”.
- Do you often have headaches / migraines?
- Do you often have calf cramps at night?
- Do you often notice tension in the neck and shoulders?
- Do you have stress very often?
- Do you notice muscle tension after sports?
- Do you notice “twitches” – for example, the eye songs?
- Are you diabetic?
- Do you often notice a “tingling” or do you have a numbness in your arms or legs?
- Do you take medications such as laxatives or lower blood pressure?