Clinical Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is extremely hard to diagnose. Symptoms are generally non-specific, there are numerous contributing factors, and there is no simple method for diagnosing magnesium deficiency.

The following are signs compiled from an extensive review of the literature published in the journal, Open Heart in 2018.

Less Severe Clinical Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Ataxia
  • Chvostek sign (twitching of the facial muscles in response to tapping over the area of the facial nerve)
  • Confusion
  • Cramps (spontaneous carpopedal spasm or painful cramps of the muscles in your hands and feet)
  • Disorientation
  • Fasciculations (‘a brief, spontaneous contraction affecting a small number of muscle fibres, often causing a flicker of movement under the skin. It can be a symptom of disease of the motor neurons’)
  • Hyperreflexia
  • Irritability
  • Muscular weakness
  • Neuromuscular irritability
  • Pain or hyperalgesia
  • Photosensitivity
  • Spasticity
  • Tetany (involuntary muscle spasms)
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Tremors
  • Trousseau sign
  • Vertigo
  • Vitamin D resistance

Severe Clinical Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Arrhythmias (caused by over-excitation of the heart due to enhanced depolarisation susceptibility, especially torsades de pointes or ventricular tachycardia with a prolonged QT interval)
  • Calcifications
  • Cataracts
  • Convulsions
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Depressed immune response
  • Depression
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parathyroid hormone resistance and impaired parathyroid hormone release/function
  • Psychotic behaviour
  • Seizures(overexcitation of the nervous system (nerve cells), which are more likely to fire due to a reduced electric potential difference between the outer and inner surfaces of the membrane)
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Tachycardia


DiNicolantonio, j et al. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. Jan 13, 2018. Accessed at:

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