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What kinds of effects result from a magnesium deficiency?

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Quick Answer

A magnesium deficiency can initially result in weakness, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Further magnesium deficiency can cause abnormal heart rhythms, muscle cramps, coronary spasms, numbness and personality changes.

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Full Answer

Severe magnesium deficiency can cause hypokalemia or hypocalcemia because the mineral homeostasis has been disrupted, explains the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Healthy individuals generally do not experience symptomatic magnesium deficiency because the kidneys limit the loss of magnesium in urination. The changes in the body’s biochemical pathways due to continual magnesium deficiency can increase the likelihood of illness. Magnesium deficiency may be involved in the development of osteoporosis, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, migraine headaches and cardiovascular disease.

Certain groups of individuals are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency, such as older adults and those with Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases or alcohol dependence, notes the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. To reduce the risk of magnesium deficiency, an individual can obtain magnesium through dietary sources, medicines or supplements, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Good dietary sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, tofu, wheat bran, legumes and blackstrap molasses. Other dietary sources include bananas, cocoa powder, fennel seed, agar seaweed and various nuts. Magnesium is also available as magnesium gluconate, magnesium citrate and magnesium lactate, which are all conducive to bodily absorption. Other sources are magnesium sulfate and magnesium hydroxide.

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