6 Symptoms That Point to a Magnesium Deficiency (and How to Treat It)

Most of us aim to eat balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or at least two of the three (on a good day). But we haven't really gone over the actual qualifications for a "balanced meal" since grade school science class, and as a result, some of the essential nutrients don't make it to home plate. One of those key ingredients? Magnesium. As neurosurgeon and pain medicine pioneer Norman Shealy, MD and Ph.D., tells Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, "every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency, and it's the missing cure for many diseases."

So with that in mind, we decided to ask the founder and director of Real Nutrition, Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, to give us a little more information about why we need it and which magnesium-rich foods we should be eating more of. "We need magnesium to activate over 300 enzymes and translate thousands of biochemical reactions that occur every day," she says. We need it to "make energy and [for] the structural development of our bones" since it helps regulate antioxidants, calcium, potassium, sodium, and more. So if we don't get enough of it, a magnesium deficiency can occur. Some of the symptoms include "weakness and twitches, cramps, osteoporosis, fatigue, and high blood pressure."

Since it's so essential to cellular health, eating a magnesium-rich diet can yield a lot of benefits and has "been shown to increase energy while calming nerves and anxiety." It also "helps protect bones and the cardiovascular system, fights diabetes, prevents osteoporosis, and relieves symptoms of a premenstrual syndrome like bloating, insomnia, hormone imbalance, swelling, and weight gain," says Shapiro. Now that we've done a biology refresh, find out the nutritionist-recommended top 10 foods that are high in magnesium and then incorporate them into your diet with corresponding recipes.