Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

I like to think of magnesium as the master key mineral. Depending on which studies you read, magnesium is responsible for between 300 – 800 enzyme driven processes in the body.

Examples are:

  • Activating muscles and nerves
  • Creating energy in your body
  • Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
  • It’s also a precursor for chemical messengers like serotonin, which is the happiness and self-esteem hormone.

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, Author of The Magnesium Miracle, an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. Which is no surprise, since magnesium is burned big time, when we are under stress. The more stressed we are, the more magnesium we are likely to need. Here are some important facts from Dr. Dean:

  • “Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium,” Dr. Dean explains. ”A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams. People do need to supplement with magnesium.”
  • 2 out of 3 Americans do not consume the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for magnesium, 500 milligrams of magnesium per day.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency *

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency Chart

 * Source: Morley Robbins

How to Get Your Magnesium and Mineral Levels Tested

There are a couple of options for this. Given that it’s important to look at your entire mineral status, we recommend you start by getting a hair mineral test. We highly recommend getting your hair mineral test (HTMA) from Morley Robbins at We have all had consults with him and find him to be incredibly knowledgeable about how mineral imbalances create health conditions and how to correct it. We love that when Morley met with Louise months after she turned 87, he said that her mineral status was better than people half her age and that it was a testament to how she took loving care of herself with thoughts and food.

Another helpful test is a MagRBC test, which is a blood test to check your magnesium levels. If you get your HTMA first, Morely will let you know if this test is necessary for additional diagnostics. If you do want to get a MagRBC test, you can ask your doctor or order online at and have your blood drawn in your local area (you will be able to choose a local lab from a list when purchasing your blood test).

How to Choose the Right Form of Magnesium for You

Morley Robbins

Morley Robbins – Mg Man

Remember to listen to your body when it comes to choosing the right form of magnesium for you. The following chart shows different forms of magnesium that might work for you.

We created this chart with information from Morley Robbins, known as the “magnesium man” at He suggests that you work with a wide range of magnesium.

Type of Magnesium
Typically Best For
Magnesium Citrate or Lactate Intestines. Some people do very well on this and others do not. Magnesium citrate is no longer recommended by Morley Robbins because research shows that it can degrade ceruloplasmin, an important protein transporter that helps copper and iron move safely through the body.

Magnesium citrate often comes in powder form and can be mixed into hot water or tea. It has a laxative effect, so you don’t need much.

Magnesium Glycinate This is a chelated form of magnesium that many believe is the most bioavailable and does not cause loose bowels. Be aware that in some sensitive individuals, this form of magnesium can convert to glutamate or oxalates. If you have an adverse reaction to magnesium glycinate, switch to another form.
Magnesium Malate
Magnesium Taurate
According to magnesium expert, Morley Robbins of, these forms of magnesium are best for the heart.
Magnesium Mineral Supplement
This gives you a natural, balanced form of magnesium and important minerals
Morley Robbins and his colleagues have found that a supplement with a wide base of minerals and magnesium has prompted some of the best healing responses in people. His favorites are: Anderson’s Concentrated Mineral Drops and South Sea Minerals (Ocean Pure) from
Magnesium Orotate Low doses have been found to be helpful in cases of multiple sclerosis (MS), mood disorders, alcoholism, radiation effects and cancer. [1]
Milk of Magnesia If you feel you must use Tums, Morley Robbins suggests using Milk of Magnesia instead. He says you can get the same results without creating a magnesium deficiency from the calcium in Tums. The calcium to magnesium ratio in Tums is much too high at 300:1. Make sure to choose a brand Milk of Magnesia that has only magnesium hydroxide and filtered water as ingredients, such as Good Sense brand original flavor.
Magnesium Oil Magnesium oil is magnesium chloride in water, so it’s not really oily. You spray this on your skin and rub it in. Because it is absorbed through the skin and does not need to go through the digestive system, it can be very effective for people with challenged digestive systems. Most people rub this on their feet. Ancient Minerals brand is respected by many experts and you can purchase it online at Amazon and other online vendors.
Magnesium Bath Flakes or Epsom Salts Magnesium Bath Flakes are magnesium chloride flakes and another good way to get magnesium in through your skin. You can use them for foot baths and full body baths. Ancient Minerals is a respected brand that you can purchase online. Some people do well with Epsom Salts for baths or foot baths. These are more affordable and work well for many people. However, if you are sensitive to sulfur or sulfates, Epsom salts may not be for you. Listen to your body. You can get Epsom salts in the grocery store, health food store or online.
AVOID: Magnesium Glutamate, Magnesium Aspartate or Chelated Magnesium
(Magnesium with Amino Acid Chelates or Magnesium Chelate)
Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., author of Magnesium Miracle, warns her readers not to take these forms of magnesium because they can act as excitotoxins and have adverse health reactions. [2] See chapter 5 for more about excitotoxins. Learn more about these forms of magnesium.

Magnesium Contraindications

If you have kidney failure, bowel obstruction, heart block or Myasthenia gravis, do not take magnesium. Additionally, if you are on heart medication, talk to your doctor first before taking magnesium because it may reduce the need for your medication and you want your doctor to help you track this. You may need to create a plan with your doctor for how much time to wait between taking your heart or blood pressure medication and your magnesium.

  1. Rosner, Bryan. The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments: Defeat Lyme Disease with the Best of Conventional and Alternative Medicine. BioMed Publishing Group. 2007. Print.
  2. Dean, Carolyn. “Glutamates in Magnesium Chelates.” 31 Jan 2011. Web. 23 Feb 2014.
  3. Dean, Carolyn. “The Magnesium Miracle.” n.d. Web. 10 Feb 2014.


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!