Signs of magnesium deficiency and what to do about it

Magnesium is somewhat of a mighty mineral.

Beneficial for sleep, mood, bone health and more, it’s the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is involved in over 300 metabolic processes.

So how do you know if you’re getting enough? Here, we take a look at the key signs that you may be deficient in magnesium, and explore what you can do if you’re concerned you might be running low.

Always speak to your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Signs of magnesium deficiency

Finding it tough to get through your workouts? Muscle weakness can be a sign that you’re deficient in this mighty mineral. It’s thought that this is a result of low potassium, which can be a side effect of low magnesium.

Fatigue may also be a sign that you’re low in magnesium, although it’s important to know that this can be a symptom of many different conditions.

Muscle cramps, spasms and twitches may also indicate a magnesium deficiency.

You may experience some symptoms with your heart if you’re deficient in magnesium too. These can include abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms.

How to get enough magnesium

The UK government recommends 270mg a day of magnesium for women aged 19-75+ and 300mg for men (the EU and US daily recommendations are higher, around 320-420 mg daily).

You can get magnesium through your diet. It’s abundant in foods such as fatty fish like salmon, nuts including almonds, cashews and brazil nuts, leafy greens like kale, and dark chocolate.

Avocados, legumes including lentils, beans and chickpeas, seeds such as flax, chia and pumpkin, and whole grains like buckwheat and quinoa, are all also rich in magnesium.


In addition to eating a healthy diet, you may want to look at supplementation.

There are many different types of magnesium, which each come with their own benefits. Some are ingested whereas others are applied topically.

  • Magnesium sulfate – also known as Epsom salts, can soothe muscles and aid relaxation when used as a soak.
  • Magnesium citrate – helps to treat constipation and support magnesium levels.
  • Magnesium ascorbate – gentler on the tummy than some.
  • Magnesium chloride – useful for topping up magnesium levels, treating constipation, and soothing muscles when applied topically using bath salts or soaks.
  • Magnesium oxide – can help relieve constipation and heartburn.
  • Magnesium glycinate – its calming properties can help anxiety, depression and insomnia.
  • Magnesium taurate – may help lower blood pressure (but more studies are needed).
  • Magnesium threonate – may also help brain health and be better for cognitive function.

Here are some magnesium supplements loved by the LIZLOVES team:

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