Magnesium is a mineral vital to many bodily functions. Transporting calcium and potassium across the cell membranes is one of its primary roles. The compound also functions in multiple reactions, including energy production and regulating muscle and nerve functions. Studies show magnesium can help regulate diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions. Not surprisingly, then, a lack of magnesium can lead to various health concerns.
Any disease or illness that affects the stomach or bowel is impacting the gastrointestinal tract within the digestive system. A lack of magnesium can disrupt this system, leading to diarrhea, nausea, and even vomiting. Some people with magnesium deficiencies also experience a loss of appetite. A shortage of the mineral is only one issue that can cause these general symptoms, however.
Medical researchers may have identified a link between magnesium deficiency and high blood pressure, though more study is needed. This possible connection could lead to the use of magnesium therapy to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium regulates the neurotransmitter GABA, which controls many functions, including promoting the sleep-wake cycle. While countless issues, including stress and anxiety, can lead to interrupted sleep, if a person experiences episodes of insomnia without a clear cause, it is possible they lack magnesium. Some studies indicate that people get a better night's sleep after taking mineral supplements.
At one time, anxiety and depression were considered character failings rather than illnesses. Today, medical professionals recognize the connection between physical and mental health, and magnesium deficiency could exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. The mineral impacts the nervous system, and studies suggest sufficient levels of magnesium may help reduce stress and depression.
Studies show that a lack of magnesium can affect the heart. Some people with irregular heart rhythms and coronary artery problems have lower levels of magnesium than those with healthy hearts. In some cases, doctors may recommend magnesium supplements or adding more foods rich in the mineral to the diet of patients with heart issues and low magnesium levels.
Energy levels can also be affected by a lack of magnesium. An American study found that people engaged in energy-consuming activities use more oxygen if they lack magnesium, leading to lethargy in some cases. This means athletes and other active individuals could notice significant impacts on their performance and exercise tolerance if they develop a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium helps stabilize nerve fibers, and a deficiency can trigger sudden muscle jerks due to misfiring nerves. This is usually an issue that arises when a person has a long-term deficiency that has not been addressed. In addition to limb spasms, magnesium deficiencies can cause eye twitches and persistent blinking.
Magnesium can help improve the appearance and health of skin by balancing hormone fluctuations that cause breakouts and other issues. Likewise, a lack of magnesium may exacerbate conditions like eczema. In additional to hormones, too little magnesium means too little fatty acids, which improve skin texture.
Experts believe that a lack of magnesium adversely affects appetite, though this is a difficult effect to corroborate since so many factors can be at play. People who notice waning hunger may choose to speak to a doctor about having their magnesium levels tested, or increasing the amount of the mineral in their diet.
Long periods of magnesium deficiency can begin to affect mental facilities, leading to irritability and confusion, as well as poor memory. These symptoms are closely linked to other mental health effects and, similarly, can be difficult to diagnose. Though magnesium levels may be only one of many factors affecting mental wellbeing, some studies do highlight the positive impacts of this mineral.
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