Why magnesium is important to your health


I am absolutely shocked at what I recently discovered about the importance of magnesium when it comes to our health. I recently went through a scare where my doctor thought my symptoms were due to a benign brain tumor. She ordered an MRI, which showed white “freckles” which could be indicative of MS, migraines, vasculitis or small vessel ischemic disease. Thankfully, the neurologist said he didn’t believe any of those issues exist for me. So I started doing some research to see what else could cause the symptoms I have been having. It turns out that low magnesium levels can mimic a lot of the signs of multiple sclerosis.

Magnesium Deficiency

  • Affects at least 7 out of 10 reading this
  • Can be there even if you feel well; will be there if you have malabsorption (think gluten issues)
  • Is common with diabetes, liver disease, and if you take or eat a lot of calcium
  • Is especially problematic if you drink alcohol, sodas, caffeine and excess sugar, have a stressful life, sweat a lot, or take birth control pills
  • Increases your risk of heart disease, strokes, muscles problems, cancer and many other illnesses
  • Is common in a stressful life (and especially so if you have adrenal fatigue, or you are a Type A personality)
  • Can be even worse than a lab test reveals
  • Is found in someone like me who eats right!!

How a deficiency of magnesium affects you

  • Can cause heart disease, plus strokes
  • Promotes tooth decay, muscle cramping (me)
  • Lowers your immune system strength, energy levels, metabolism
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Decreases your body’s ability to use Vitamin C and E
  • Lowers the production, function and transport of insulin
  • Causes an increase of toxins and acid in your body (think cigarettes, radiation, toxins in food/water/air)
  • Makes you susceptible to host of diseases and conditions

Why you need higher levels of magnesium

  • Helps the metabolism of carbs, fats and amino acids and influences 325 enzymes
  • Counteracts and regulates the influence of calcium, which can harm you if too much
  • Is required for the body to produce and store energy
  • Calms the brain
  • Removes toxins along with Vitamin C
  • Increases the efficiency of white blood cells (your immune system)
  • Helps prevent cancer and slows down the course of cancer (along with zinc and selenium!)
  • Can raise testosterone levels in men (along with zinc)
  • Relieves pain! (important news for those with arthritis or other pain issues)
  • Does the opposite of what is listed above about how deficiencies affect you

Your doctor can order a very simple blood test. A magnesium test checks the level of magnesium in the blood. Magnesium is an important electrolyte needed for proper muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. It also helps the body use energy and is needed to move other electrolytes (potassium and sodium) into and out of cells.

Most of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones and inside the cells. Only a tiny amount of magnesium is normally present in the blood.

Tests for other electrolytes, such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus, may be done along with a test for magnesium.

Why It Is Done

A test for magnesium is done to:

  • Find a cause for nerve and muscle problems, such as muscle twitches, irritability, and muscle weakness.
  • Find the cause of symptoms such as low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, muscle weakness, and slurred speech.
  • Monitor kidney function.
  • Find the cause of heart problems or trouble breathing, especially in people who have kidney disease.
  • Find the cause of a low calcium or potassium level that is not improving with treatment.
  • Look for changes in magnesium levels caused by medicines, such as diuretics.
  • See if people who have heart problems need extra magnesium. Low magnesium levels can increase the chances of life-threatening heart rhythm problems.
  • Measure levels when magnesium is being given for medical treatment.

How To Prepare

Many medicines may change the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take. Do not take medicines containing magnesium for at least 3 days before this test. This includes antacids that contain magnesium, laxatives (such as milk of magnesia or Epsom salts), magnesium supplements, and some diuretics.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean.


The normal values listed here called a reference range are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what’s normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.


Magnesium blood level1

1.8–2.6 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)[0.74–1.07millimoles per liter (mmol/L)]


1.7–2.1 mg/dL (0.70–0.86 mmol/L)


1.5–2.2 mg/dL (0.62–0.91 mmol/L)

Many conditions can change magnesium levels. Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your symptoms and past health.

What Affects the Test

High values

High magnesium levels may be caused by:

Low values

Low magnesium levels may be caused by:

  • Alcohol abuse or withdrawal.
  • Complications from diabetes, such as diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • Diseases that block with the way food is absorbed in the intestines, such as sprue.
  • High blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia).
  • Infection and swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Kidney disease.
  • Long-term diarrhea.
  • Not getting enough magnesium in the foods you eat.
  • Pregnancy, especially in the second or third trimester.
  • Underactive parathyroid glands (hypoparathyroidism).

What To Think About

  • A test for magnesium may be done along with testing for other electrolytes, such as calcium, chloride, potassium, and phosphorus.
  • The amounts of magnesium and calcium in the body are closely related.
  • Having low magnesium levels is rare. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include weakness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, shaking, twitching, and seizures. Low magnesium levels are usually caused by not eating enough of the foods that contain magnesium or from problems that block the way food is absorbed from the intestines.

If this post sounds like YOU, talk to your doctor!

For more great health articles and much more, please follow my blog at www.LiveHealthyWithPatty.com


1 comment for “Why magnesium is important to your health

  1. December 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Patty, thank you so much for this information. My adult son was just diagnosed with low magnesium levels. Appreciate this blog.

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