Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Shelley was a very anxious person, and when her company made national news because it was closing, she began to have panic attacks. To make things worse, part of her job was interacting with many grieving staff daily, so even if she held it together, they couldn’t. 

In our BrainBehaviorreset™ program, we dug into some of the root causes of Shelley’s anxiety and discovered she was low in magnesium, vitamin D and B6.  After supplementing with all three plus PEMF, Shelley’s anxiety began to lower. She felt such immediate relief from magnesium that she added magnesium powder to her water and drank it all day to keep her nervous system in check. 

So what is magnesium, and how does it help the brain and body? Magnesium is an essential mineral used in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including DNA synthesis, energy production, and nerve and muscle function. Additionally, it plays a critical role in maintaining healthy hearts and bones. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Just like with Shelley, magnesium helps lower stress levels.  This mineral helps regulate the release of stress hormones like cortisol and plays a role in our moods. Plus, magnesium can help relax muscles and promote better sleep, which can significantly affect how we handle stress. If you're feeling overwhelmed, adding more magnesium-rich foods to your family's diet or considering a supplement could be a simple way to support your mental and physical health.

Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is a common issue as many people fail to consume enough of this important mineral, leading to symptoms such as muscle cramps, tremors, anxiety, and fatigue. Insufficient magnesium levels also affect the central nervous system's proper functioning and increase externalizing behaviors. 

Magnesium is a synergistic nutrient that can be a helper to other nutrients. Combining magnesium with vitamin B6 effectively calms the central nervous system and promotes well-being. It isn’t always easy to get enough magnesium, so to maintain optimal magnesium levels and support overall health, consuming a balanced diet rich in magnesium or taking magnesium supplements is recommended.

What is Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium plays a crucial role in brain and mental health. Studies have shown that high dietary magnesium intake decreases depression and anxiety in adults (Jacka et al., 2009). On the other hand, low magnesium levels are linked to callous or unemotional traits in children. 

Like Shelley, most children I work with who struggle with anxiety, OCD, and mood issues benefit from magnesium.

Maintaining optimal magnesium levels through diet or supplements to support overall health, including brain and mental health, is essential. When the body lacks the necessary amount of magnesium, the signs of magnesium deficiency will show. And often, it manifests itself as dysregulated behaviors and reactive emotions, but luckily, supplementing can help alleviate symptoms. 

What are the Causes of Magnesium Deficiency? 

What are the Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

With stress rampant amongst children, teens and adults, magnesium deficiencies are more common than most realize Understanding the causes of magnesium deficiency is essential in identifying and preventing this condition. Here are some reasons why one has magnesium deficiencies:

1. Increased Stress Levels

Chronic stress can increase the body's demand for magnesium, leading to depletion and deficiency. The body and nervous system require significant magnesium to function correctly, particularly when under high-stress levels. 

However, when in a state of sympathetic dominance, common in clinical conditions such as anxiety, OCD, and depression, consuming enough magnesium-rich foods to meet the increased demand can be challenging. As a result, our central nervous system may not function correctly, and we may experience disruptions in neurotransmitter function, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, or mood disorders.

2. Individual Biome

The optimal amount of magnesium needed for effective regulation of the nervous system is influenced by various factors. These factors include genetics, gut health, metabolic processes, and physical or mental health status. 

All of these factors play a key role in determining the individual's magnesium usage and the requirements of the central nervous system and the body as a whole. For example, the body's ability to absorb and retain magnesium decreases in older adults, leading to an increased risk of deficiency.

3. Existing Medical Conditions and Medications

Medical conditions like gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease can cause a decrease in magnesium absorption leading to deficiency. Furthermore, some medications have been linked to lower levels of magnesium in the body due to increased excretion by the kidneys.

4. Food and Water Sources

The nutrient-deficient Standard American Diet (SAD) is rich in chemical-laden foods that can negatively affect magnesium absorption. Additionally, modern farming methods contribute to soil depletion of magnesium, resulting in lower magnesium levels in our food. 

Certain fertilizers also decrease magnesium levels in the soil. Moreover, urban water treatment with fluoride can bind with any magnesium present, creating a compound that enters the bones, potentially increasing their brittleness.

5. Lifestyle Choices and Diet 

The excessive consumption of refined sugar causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys, leading to a depletion of magnesium stores. Similarly, dark-colored sodas often contain phosphates that bind with magnesium in the digestive tract, making them unusable for the body. 

Additionally, consuming large amounts of caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium, even if the body requires it. 

Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to magnesium deficiency by interfering with the body's ability to absorb and retain magnesium. And with such an increase in mental health issues in this pandemic world, alcohol can feel like an easy way to cope, but it actually can be quite harmful in more than one way. 

Magnesium Deficiency Symptom

Magnesium deficiency can lead to various symptoms impacting your overall health and well-being. Since magnesium is essential in many bodily functions, low magnesium levels can have far-reaching consequences. I recently worked with a child with OCD who had low magnesium levels, and thankfully she benefited from magnesium supplementation.

Some common symptoms of magnesium deficiency are:

  • Muscle weakness, cramps, and spasms, especially at night
  • Tremors or twitching in the muscles 
  • Weakness and fatigue 
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping 
  • Loss of appetite and nausea 
  • Abnormal heart rhythms or irregular heartbeat, including arrhythmias
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines and headaches caused by dilated blood vessels and neurotransmitter dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis and bone health issues 

Magnesium Deficiency and Associated Symptoms 

Magnesium Deficiency and Associated Symptoms

What are the Effects of Magnesium Deficiency on Mental Health? 

Inadequate levels of magnesium can negatively impact mental health. It has been linked to an elevated risk of anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Magnesium helps regulate the neurotransmitters responsible for transmitting messages in the brain. Low magnesium levels can create an imbalance of these neurotransmitters, contributing to or worsening mental health symptoms.

Moreover, magnesium plays an important role in the body's stress response by controlling the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which manages stress levels. Chronic stress can drain magnesium levels, resulting in a dangerous cycle where severe magnesium deficiency fuels elevated stress levels, further depleting magnesium stores and heightening the risk of anxiety and depression.

Studies also demonstrate that magnesium supplementation can be beneficial in managing specific mental health conditions. For example, a meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials found that magnesium supplementation can significantly enhance depression symptoms (Tarleton et al., 2017). Similarly, magnesium supplementation helped improve hyperactivity and impulsivity in children with ADHD in a separate study (Mousain-Bosc et al., 2004).

How Does Magnesium Improve Mental Health? 

Magnesium supplementation has been found to benefit mental health, including calming the brain, improving ADHD behaviors, and improving brain chemicals associated with anxiety, OCD, depression, and ADHD. It can also reduce intrusive thoughts and anxiety. 

An adult’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 400 mg of magnesium, but those with clinical mental health issues may require more. However, many people in the United States don’t meet the RDA. Magnesium L-threonate and glycinate are two preferred forms of magnesium for mental health symptoms because they support brain functioning. But all forms of magnesium are essential for optimal brain and body functioning and have different effects on the body.

How to Support Kids with Mental Health Issues 

Taking a multifaceted approach is how parents can best help their children struggling with behavior or mental health. Parents can help ensure their child's diet includes foods rich in magnesium and consider giving them magnesium supplements. Magnesium supplements can help enhance mental well-being. Introducing magnesium in other ways is helpful as well.

Aside from taking magnesium supplements and eating magnesium-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts, parents may also use other forms of magnesium such as lotions and baths. For example, magnesium lotions applied at night may help improve sleep quality. In addition, Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, can be added to their bath to help reduce anxiety. 

Our Brain Behavior Reset Program is designed to help kids with mental health issues such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, and PANS/PANDAS using a multi-faceted approach. We use scientifically-proven methods to calm the brain and regulate behavior. 

We combine magnesium supplementation with neurofeedback, PEMF, cognitive behavior therapy, and other natural solutions to improve attention, thinking, and action. As the body begins to heal naturally, lasting positive changes are achieved.

In addition, we work closely with parents to guide effective behavioral and communication techniques to promote healthy behavior. By shifting specific approaches, parents can reinforce positive behaviors and encourage change.


Jacka, F. N., Overland, S., Stewart, R., Tell, G. S., Bjelland, I., & Mykletun, A. (2009). Association Between Magnesium Intake and Depression and Anxiety in Community-Dwelling Adults: The Hordaland Health Study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43(1), 45–52.

Mousain-Bosc, M., Roche, M., Rapin, J., & Bali, J.-P. (2004). Magnesium VitB6 Intake Reduces Central Nervous System Hyperexcitability in Children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23(5), 545S548S.

Tarleton, E. K., Littenberg, B., MacLean, C. D., Kennedy, A. G., & Daley, C. (2017). Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 12(6), e0180067.

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen? 

Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place! 

There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann: 


You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s media page and professional speaking page to see how we can work together. 


Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of  media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” 

Dr. Roseann - Brain Behavior Reset Parent Toolkit

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top
Skip to content