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What Is Magnesium Deficiency - And Do You Have It?

Magnesium is an essential component in human bodily function and nutrition. It is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and contained in some medicines such as antacids and laxatives. Magnesium helps regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It contributes to the structural development of bone and also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. This process is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Seems pretty important, right? Yet many Americans are magnesium deficient and may not even realize it. 

If you are one of the nearly 49 MILLION ADULTS – that’s nearly 68% of Americans -  who does not consume the recommended daily requirement for magnesium – it’s time for a change.   Truth be told, until recently I was one of them.   And if you’re like me, you don’t really need the government to tell you what’s best for your body. A few searches and a little light reading helped me discover how magnesium – and more importantly a lack of – affects my body and the steps I can take to increase my magnesium intake.


Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency have three categories. Initial symptoms are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and general body weakness. Moderate symptoms include numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes and abnormal heart rhythms. Severe deficiency can bring low blood calcium level (hypocalcemia) or low blood potassium level (hypokalemia).

Deficiency in magnesium can also occur in older adults, people with gastrointestinal disease, Type 2 diabetes or those who abuse alcohol.  Although you may not get enough magnesium from your diet, it is rare to be truly deficient in magnesium. Symptoms of a true magnesium deficiency include hyperexcitability, muscle weakness, and sleepiness. 


One of the best sources of magnesium is healthy foods. Most dietary magnesium comes from fruit and dark green, leafy vegetables. Other good sources include nuts, legumes, whole grains and milk.

I found that dietary magnesium supplements are not recommended. Most research suggests the use of diet choices and topical absorption to increase daily magnesium intake. For more information about building a healthy diet, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the United States’ Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate.

One of the major symptoms I experienced as a result of magnesium deficiency was leg cramps, particularly at bedtime. I could not stretch enough and felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Along with proper food choices, I also incorporated magnesium into a calming body butter for topical use.  By applying the lotion to my feet and legs each night, I experienced great relief from cramping and I sleep much more peacefully.  I tried going without the lotion for a couple nights. On night three, while the symptoms were not quite as severe I could definitely tell I hadn’t used my lotion. Needless to say, I won't go without again and applying the calming magnesium butter has become a staple of my bedtime routine!  No leg cramps, I sleep better, and my daughter tells me my feet look so soft!  That’s definitely a win-win-win situation!

Increase your magnesium intake topically with the Calming Magnesium Body Butter or Bath Salts available at Give them a try and see which one works best for you! 

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