3 Common Health Conditions Caused By Magnesium Deficiency (In Addition To Bone Loss) - Save Our Bones

There are few minerals that so readily make the case for a healthy diet and smart supplementation as magnesium. This mineral is essential for an incredible variety of processes in the body — not the least of which is the healthy formation and maintenance of bone.

In spite of this fact, nearly half of Americans don't consume enough magnesium. Instead, they may be taking drugs prescribed to address the symptoms caused by a simple magnesium deficiency.

Today we'll take a closer look at three of magnesium's many benefits — and how you can ensure you're getting enough of this bone-essential nutrient.

All About Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the hardest-working nutrients in the human body. Over 300 enzymes are dependent on magnesium to carry out critical operations that span most of our bodily systems.

This element regulates muscle function (including the most important muscle: the heart), nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, protein synthesis, bone formation, and also the replication and synthesis of DNA.

In spite of the body's continual and broad need for this nutrient, many Americans don't get enough of it on a daily basis. According to What We Eat in America (WWEIA), a dietary intake survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 48 percent of men and 44 percent of women fail to meet the estimated average requirement (EAR) for magnesium intake, 265 mg per day for women and 350 mg per day for men.1

This figure is especially alarming because the EAR is a lower bar than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). While the EAR is a nutrient intake value estimated to meet the requirement of only half the healthy individuals in a group, the RDA is the level sufficient to meet the requirement of nearly all individuals in that group.2

The RDA of magnesium for women above the age of 30 is 320mg, and for men is 420mg.3

Next up, you'll learn what getting the proper amount of this mineral can do for your health.4

Synopsis

Magnesium is required for hundreds of important bodily processes, but nearly half of Americans fail to intake enough of this important mineral.

Magnesium And Bone Health

Magnesium is especially important for Savers because of its role in bone health. Multiple animal studies have found that dietary restriction of magnesium promotes osteoporosis.5

One multi-study analysis stated that “Bones of Mg deficient animals are brittle and fragile, microfractures of the trabeculae can be detected and mechanical properties are severely impaired.” 6

The reasons for this are several. About 60 percent of total magnesium is stored in the bone. If magnesium intake levels are insufficient for the body to carry out the hundreds of functions that require this mineral, then the body will dismantle bone to access and use that magnesium.7

In addition to increasing bone resorption, a magnesium deficiency decreases bone formation, in part because it is required by the osteoblasts responsible for creating new bone.8

As if these two effects didn't cause enough damage to bones, magnesium deficiency also weakens bones by affecting hormones that regulate calcium levels, most notably parathyroid hormone (PTH).9 Additionally, low magnesium intake promotes inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which further contribute to bone loss. 10,11

Synopsis

Magnesium deficiency harms bones in many interrelated ways. The body resorbs bone to access magnesium in the bone matrix when intake is low. Mg deficiency also decreases new bone formation and promotes bone-damaging inflammation and oxidative stress.

Magnesium And Depression

Magnesium plays a role in mental health just as it does in physical health. Several studies have found that hospital patients with higher magnesium intake were less likely to be diagnosed with depression upon discharge.12,13

This finding is related to studies that have found a relationship between magnesium and the brain's reward system- the mechanism for releasing neurochemicals that create pleasant and positive feelings.14

At the same time, magnesium can help you destress by reducing the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). ACTH stimulates the adrenal gland to release cortisol — also known as the stress hormone. Consistently elevated cortisol levels can cause chronic inflammation and a host of problems including depression.15,16

Magnesium has also been found to reduce insomnia in older adults. One double-blind study with 46 elderly participants found that a daily 500 mg magnesium supplement significantly improved subjective measures of insomnia such as sleep time, sleep efficiency, and sleep onset latency, as well as objective measures like serum melatonin and cortisol levels. 17

Synopsis

Magnesium plays an important role in brain health. Studies have found that increased magnesium intake reduces the effects of depression and insomnia — helping people improve their mental health and their sleep quality.

Magnesium And Diabetes

Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels, in part by participating in insulin-mediated glucose uptake. Adequate dietary magnesium intake reduces insulin resistance, which helps to prevent diabetes. Conversely, a magnesium deficiency can result in increased insulin resistance and the development of diabetes.

One study of people with metabolic syndrome found that the participants with the highest magnesium intake were 71 percent less likely to have elevated insulin resistance — helping to avoid developing diabetes.18

Other studies that examined the relationship between low serum and dietary magnesium levels also linked a magnesium deficiency to diabetes as well as to hypertension and cardiovascular disease.19

Synopsis

Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and a deficiency can lead to insulin resistance and the development of diabetes.

Magnesium And Hypothyroidism

Magnesium is essential for thyroid function. The thyroid is a gland located in the neck that creates hormones to regulate metabolism and critical bodily functions such as regulating the heartbeat and energy production.

A magnesium deficiency can cause hypothyroidism — a condition in which the thyroid gland underproduces hormones.20

Hypothyroidism increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular symptoms, weight gain, fatigue, and cognitive problems.21,22

Adequate magnesium intake prevents these problems by allowing the thyroid to maintain healthy hormone levels. In spite of this simple solution, doctors have made levothyroxine, a drug that treats hypothyroidism, the most prescribed drug in America.23

Synopsis

Magnesium deficiency prevents the thyroid from producing hormones that regulate metabolism and important bodily systems such as energy production and cardiovascular function.

Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Fortunately, it's easy to increase your magnesium levels through simple and natural measures. Unsurprisingly, magnesium is contained in many foods, and there are plenty of rich sources. An ounce of almonds, for example, contains no less than 80 mg of magnesium.

Below are some the richest food sources of magnesium, listed from most to least magnesium content:

*Foundation Food

Naturally, a nutrient that is this important for your general wellness and bones alike is a Foundation Supplement, and supplementation is the best way to make sure you get enough magnesium every day (at least 400 mg).

Synopsis

A wide variety of foods provide magnesium, from almonds to yogurt to salmon, and supplementation ensures that you get a minimum of 420 mg of this critical nutrient.

Choose Natural Solutions

It's sad to think that doctors are prescribing drugs to counteract conditions that could be cleared up with a change in diet and supplementation.

Just as magnesium can be the key to reducing fatigue and anxiety, preventing insulin resistance, and maintaining a healthy thyroid, it's essential for reversing osteoporosis and maintaining youthful, resilient bones.

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References

1 https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/usual/Usual_Intake_Gender_WWEIA_2013_2016_Tables_TA.pdf

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45182/

3 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2

4 https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/0102/usualintaketables2001-02.pdf

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19828898

6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775240/

7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26069819

8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15607643

9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19441273

10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16712775

11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19116883

12 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032715311824

13 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048670802534408

14 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1b17/fbe37b39f62ab427a8e1b31349eae06450ca.pdf

15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509067

16 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15996533

17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703169/

18 https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/10/3910

19 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/089543569400200A

20 https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/114/8/1510/4755990?redirectedFrom=PDF

21 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2895281/

22 https://www.jci.org/articles/view/77588

23 https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20150508/most-prescribed-top-selling-drugs

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Pam

    Hello Vivian, I cannot take TrueMagnesium supplement because I have a berry allergy. Is there any other magnesium bisglycinate chelate product you would recommend? Many thanks, Pam

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Pam, there are many reputable companies that sell magnesium bisglycinate supplements. I suggest you look for a supplement that has few non-active ingredients and check the reviews.

  2. Eleanor

    Hi Vivian, I came across some research that said soaking in a bath of Epsom salt or MgCl for half an hour was more effective than taking Mg orally. I have been soaking my feet about once a week and I now sleep like a baby. My anxiety improves as well.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Eleanor, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, and there are, as of yet, no conclusive studies that prove that it gets absorbed through the skin.

      Here’s one study that expands on this topic:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28788060

      So it is possible that you experience great relaxation from soaking your feet in Epsom salt, or that the very small amount of magnesium that gets absorbed helps you sleep better and feel more relaxed.

  3. archna

    could you please suggest good diet for calcium and vitamin D specially for vegetarian food consuming person like me.
    How to increase bone density by diet.
    Please respond.
    Thanks

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      There are plenty of plant-based foods that contain good levels of calcium, such as almonds and broccoli- to name a few.

      This article expands on the topic:

      https://saveourbones.com/top-5-calcium-rich-alkalizing-foods-part-1/

      Getting enough Vitamin D from foods is a challenge, so I recommend taking supplements and/or getting enough sun exposure. You’ll be happy to know that there are vegan D3 supplements.

      And following a pH-balanced nutritional plan is a very effective way to increase bone density and strength (density alone is not a crucial bone health indicator). We have lots of articles on these topics, so feel free to browse our website 🙂

  4. Robyn

    What is better for bones: calcium or magnesium?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Robyn, for healthy and strong bones we need both calcium and magnesium.

  5. Becky

    What do you think of Ultimate Bone Support supplements?

  6. Becky Kresel

    I’m wondering if I should get my multivitamins with iron. I am 62.

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Becky, we’re delighted to contact you with an answer via email within the next 24 to 48 hours. So please check your inbox within that time frame.

  7. Lynn

    Are there differences in magnesiums? I have read that magnesium oxide is just a laxative.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes, Lynn. The most bioavailable form of magnesium is amino acid chelated, especially magnesium bisglycinate.

  8. Shamse

    Thank you so much for the great info about the magnesium.
    Due to my sciatica nerve pain dr. gave me Diclofenac 75mg twice a day. Would you tell me how safe to take it for our bones please?
    Thanks Vivian

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Please check your email inbox for an answer to your question within the next 24-48 hours, Shamse. We’re delighted to help you!

  9. Sharon R Saunders

    Thanks again for the great information on the benefits of magnesium. Always look forward to your helpful health facts. Sincerely, Sharon

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome!

  10. Susan

    I am glad to see almonds contain so much magnesium as I eat them frequently. I roast raw almonds at 350 F for about 15 minutes. Am I destroying the magnesium by roasting?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Roasting almonds does not decrease their magnesium content, Susan.

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