Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms in Women

This article is aimed at the many magnesium deficiency symptoms in women , but first we shall address the question of what is Magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the essential trace minerals, the fourth most abundant in the body, and is the eighth most common element on Earth.

It plays a significant role in the function and overall structure of the human body and an adult human body has around 25 grams of magnesium. The body is composed of 60% magnesium in the skeleton, 27% in muscles, 6% to 7% in cells and approximately 1% is found outside the cells.

Magnesium’s Role In The Body

Magnesium is required in several significant metabolic reactions in the body that includes:

  1. Synthesis of vital molecules. Magnesium is needed for various processes during protein and nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) synthesis. Numerous enzymes are involved in the synthesis of lipids and carbohydrates that requires magnesium for such activities to be conducted.
  2. Energy production. The metabolism of fats and carbohydrates to create energy needs various magnesium-dependent chemical reactions. The adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-synthesizing protein in the cells’ powerhouse, commonly known as mitochondria requires magnesium. The ATP molecule that delivers energy for the cells’ metabolic processes exits as MgATP, a complex with magnesium.

Aside from the mentioned roles of magnesium in the body, this trace element is also needed in providing structural roles in chromosomes, cell membranes and bone; transportation of ion across cell membranes; cell migration; and cell signaling. This is the reason why insufficient amount of magnesium in the body can cause numerous health disadvantages, especially for women who are undergoing various hormonal changes.

Go to this section of the site for information on the Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms in Women

Insufficient intake of magnesium can cause magnesium deficiency, which is highly common in adolescent, pregnant and lactating women. Magnesium deficiency symptoms in women include:

  1. Unusual body sensations. Because magnesium plays a role in transmitting messages between nerves, not having enough intake of magnesium can lead to nerve-related problems including diminished nerve function. Such condition can give rise to tingling, numbness and other unusual sensations in the body. Theses sensations can limit the body’s voluntary movement and can be uncomfortable at times.
  2. Stomach discomfort.  When it comes to magnesium deficiency, stomach problems are the common side effects that are associated with it. One can experience vomiting, nausea or abdominal cramps that is accompanies by prolonged bouts of diarrhea.
  3. Hypokalemia. Having low levels of magnesium in the body can contribute in decreasing the potassium level in the bloodstream, which is a magnesium deficiency symptom known as hypokalemia. Uncommon low potassium levels can cause heart rate irregularities, muscle cramps, constipation, fatigue or weakness.
  4. Hypocalcemia. Inadequate magnesium levels in the body can also contribute in the development of hypocalcemia, which is a condition wherein the body has unusual calcium levels. Symptoms associated with low calcium include stomach discomfort, weakness, depression, increased urination, unintended weight loss, memory loss and confusion.
  5. Seizures or muscle cramps. In order for the body to conduct proper muscle relaxation and contraction, sufficient amount of magnesium is needed. The muscles can contract irregularly when the magnesium levels are extremely low, causing weakness, muscle cramps, and heart rate abnormalities.
  6. Personality changes. One can become abnormally confused, agitated irritable or anxious due to insufficient levels in the bloodstream. Difficulty sleeping can also become a problem which can also exacerbate personality changes.

In order to fight these magnesium deficiency symptoms in women, proper intake of magnesium rich foods should be observed. Magnesium rich foods includes wheat bran, wheat germ, millet, whole grain oats, buckwheat, barley, hazelnuts, cashews,  mangoes, green beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, navy beans,  lima beans, soybeans, bananas, dates, spinach, almonds, watermelons, Swiss chard, dried figs, Brazil nuts, tuna, shrimp, and blackberries. Go here for a full magnesium rich foods list.

References and Further Reading