Mental Symptoms of Low Magnesium: What Reddit Won’t Tell You!

I am sure you have already heard about the importance of magnesium, and surely somebody has already recommended the supplementation of it. But what do you know about the mental symptoms of low magnesium?

Even though magnesium is vital for our body, a large proportion of the global population is currently magnesium deficient.

In this article, we talk about the adverse symptoms of low magnesium on mental wellness.

“Here you will find what Reddit won’t tell you about magnesium deficiency.”

Mental Symptoms of Low Magnesium: What Reddit Won’t Tell You!

Magnesium History and Facts

Magnesium has a rich healing history with a legacy of therapeutic marvels. The ancient Greeks and Romans used to consume magnesium in the form of laxatives and Epson salts as a remedy for various health problems.

Magnesium history

Since then, various therapeutic properties of magnesium have been identified. In the modern era of medicine, it is being used as an effective remedy for treating asthma, eclampsia, pre-eclampsia, cardiac arrhythmias, and migraines.[1]

It turns out that magnesium is an essential mineral naturally found in a variety of foods. It is an important nutrient that is crucial for performing various physiological functions in our body.

Imagine that magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body. It is present in every cell; and is an essential component of over 300 enzymes responsible for regulating various metabolic processes in the body.[2]

How Common is the Deficiency of Magnesium?

Although the data is variable, several studies have reported that 15% to up to 42% of healthy adults are magnesium deficient, and the proportion is much higher among women.[3]

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 420 mg for males and 320 mg for females.[4] The mineral is abundantly found in fresh leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard, whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice, legumes including black beans and lentils, bananas, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts like almonds and cashews, seeds such as pumpkin and flaxseeds, fatty fish like mackerel, and even in some dairy products like yogurt.

Despite its immense significance and being readily available in everyday foods, 68% (!) of adults in America do not achieve the recommended daily intake of magnesium from their diet.[5]

According to a study, the standard diet an average person consumes in the U.S. contains only 50% of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium.[6] This insufficient dietary intake of magnesium leads to subnormal levels in the body – a deficiency that makes people prone to various health problems.

Low Magnesium Mental Symptoms

Guess what, low magnesium alters several functions of the brain affecting overall mental health and well-being.

Cognitive Decline

Magnesium is a crucial nutrient for brain health. Without it, our brain is unable to perform its functions properly. People who are running low on magnesium have been reported to observe a decline in cognitive functions. Commonly referred to as brain fog, this may comprise symptoms like confusion, fatigue, difficulty in concentration, memory problems, etc.

cognitive effect low magnesium

A research study published in the journal, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, found that adults with suboptimal magnesium levels showed a poorer performance in cognitive tasks, had slow reaction time, and were more at risk of developing cognitive impairments than those in the control group.[8]

Read also: Nootropics for Brain Fog: Do Smart Drugs Really Work?


Low magnesium has also been linked with an increased incidence of migraine headaches. A 2012 study claimed that up to half of the patients with complaints of migraines are magnesium deficient.[9]

Taking oral magnesium has been found as effective in reducing the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine attacks, as sodium valproate which is the drug substance commonly used for the prevention of the condition. [10]


Inadequate magnesium has also been found to be associated with insomnia and low-quality sleep. [11] Experts mainly attribute it to the hyperexcitability of nerves and muscles caused by magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium blocks the NMDA receptors in the brain and exerts a calming effect on the body and mind. When the magnesium levels are low, there is heightened activation of these receptors which ultimately leads to poor sleep architecture. [12]

low magnesium mental symptoms

Mood Disorders

Magnesium has been referred to as the “nature’s valium” or the “chill pill” due to its mind-relaxing effects. It does so by stimulating the GABA receptors in the brain causing a reduction in the nerve transmissions. This, in turn, slows down brain activity and allows you to relax.

Besides, magnesium has been found to decrease the release of stress hormones in the brain. Therefore it helps in reducing restlessness, anxiety, and mood swings. So, when your magnesium levels are low, you become more prone to develop mood disorders, like anxiety and depression.

In fact, a study has even claimed that taking magnesium is as effective as some tricyclic anti-depressants in reducing the symptoms of depression! [13]

Stressed or A Sign of Low Magnesium?

It is important to note that the symptoms of magnesium deficiency and stress are quite similar. And the most common of them are fatigue, irritability, and mild anxiety.[7]

So, you feel tired and anxious. Is it because of stress or magnesium deficiency?

stress magnesium
Maybe it’s both! 😊

Several clinical studies have evaluated the interaction of magnesium with the key mediators of normal stress response in the body. It seems that magnesium imparts an inhibitory effect on the factors causing stress.

Therefore, low magnesium means more stress.

Meanwhile, some studies have reported the over-time development of magnesium deficiency in people suffering from psychological stress.

These overlapping findings have compelled the researchers to say that there is a vicious cycle between stress and magnesium. Stress causes the loss of magnesium while the low magnesium, in turn, increases the body’s susceptibility to develop stress.[7]

Read also: The 7 Greatest Benefits of Meditation, Backed by Science

Other Symptoms of Low Magnesium

The ill effects of hypomagnesemia are not just limited to the brain. The consequences are far-reaching affecting the health and wellness of the whole body. The major ones are described below;

  • Muscle Cramps and Fibromyalgia: Muscular pains, twitching, tremors, and muscle cramps are the common manifestations of low magnesium in the body. It is believed to be caused by the increased influx of calcium into muscles secondary to the hyperexcitability of neurons.
  • Osteoporosis: Low magnesium also alters the normal secretion of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D resulting in hypocalcemia and reduced mineral deposition in the bones. Besides, it also induces low-grade inflammation in the body. All these effects cumulatively result in the weakening of bones. [14]
  • High Blood Pressure: Studies have also reported hypertension in individuals suffering from magnesium deficiency.[15]
  • Constipation: Magnesium helps in the regulation of normal digestive functions, and also aids in bowel movement. So, when your magnesium levels are low, these processes are interrupted leading to the development of constipation. 
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias: In case of severe magnesium depletion, the normal rhythm of the heart is disturbed resulting in arrhythmias. [16] If untreated, it can lead to stroke and heart failure.

The Complexity of Magnesium Supplementation

With magnesium’s many roles in our mental and physical health, it’s clear why supplements should be seriously considered. Despite its presence in many foods, the frightening reality is that a large proportion of the population simply does not meet their required daily intake of magnesium through diet. This gap in nutrition can lead to a cascade of adverse symptoms and long-term health issues.

magnesium supplementation

Why Consider Magnesium Supplementation?

Magnesium supplementation is not just a fix to a deficiency; It is a way to increase overall health and vitality.

The involvement of magnesium in more than 300 different enzymes attests to its importance. These factors determine not only our physical well-being but also our mental health—affecting emotional regulation, cognitive functioning, sleep quality, and how our bodies respond to stress.

Supplements could be a step towards increasing your mental capacity, having a restful day, stabilizing your emotions, and better handling stress. At a time when dietary choices and lifestyle habits may not be able to ‘feed us‘ adequately, magnesium supplements stand out as a practical and practical option.

If you’re struggling with symptoms that could indicate low magnesium levels, or if you’re just looking to improve your mental and physical health, supplementing with magnesium can be a game-changer.

It’s a safe, accessible, and proactive way that could significantly enhance your quality of life.

Hard to choose which magnesium you should take?

Well, we have you covered!

Check our detailed article: The Magnesium Forms For Better Results

Kind reminder: Always advise your physician before you make any adjustments to your diet and or supplementation.

Also, nothing can substitute good sleep, exercise, balanced nutrition, low stress, and all these that we frequently discuss here!

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Guerrera MP, Volpe SL, Mao JJ. Therapeutic uses of magnesium.
  2. Al Alawi et al. Magnesium and human health: perspectives and research directions.
  3. Orlova S, et al. Magnesium deficiency questionnaire: A new non-invasive magnesium deficiency screening tool developed using real-world data from four observational studies.
  4. Magnesium [Internet]. Harvard T.H. Chan – The School of Public Health [cited 2023 Sept 9].
  5. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The importance of magnesium in clinical healthcare.
  6. Pickering G et al. Magnesium status and stress: The vicious circle concept revisited.
  7. Pickering G et al. Magnesium status and stress: The vicious circle concept revisited.
  8. Al-Ghazali K, Eltayeb S, Musleh A, Al-Abdi T, Ganji V, Shi Z. Serum magnesium and cognitive function among Qatari adults.
  9. Mauskop A, Varughese J. Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium.
  10. Karimi N, et al. The efficacy of magnesium oxide and sodium valproate in prevention of migraine headache: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover study.
  11. Ji X, Grandner MA, Liu J. The relationship between micronutrient status and sleep patterns: a systematic review.
  12. Nielsen FH. Relation between magnesium deficiency and sleep disorders and associated pathological changes.
  13. Barragán-Rodríguez L, et al. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial.
  14. Castiglioni S, et al. Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions.
  15. Sontia B, Touyz RM. Role of magnesium in hypertension.
  16. Negru AG, et al. The role of hypomagnesemia in cardiac arrhythmias: a clinical perspective.