Is Magnesium a Silent Killer? Understanding the Risks of Low Magnesium Levels

Magnesium is essential in muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure control.

Bodybuilders, in particular, need to pay attention to their magnesium intake as it plays a key role in muscle function and recovery.

In this post, we will discuss the risks and consequences of magnesium deficiency for bodybuilders and how to ensure that you get enough of this important mineral in your diet.

Can Low Magnesium Kill You?

Severe magnesium deficiency can’t kill you. The possibility of death due to magnesium is highly unlikely. While magnesium deficiency alone is not fatal, it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. So having a magnesium breakthrough supplement can be a great idea.

Magnesium plays a profound role in bodily functions, and a deficiency can cause health problems. Therefore, ensuring you get enough magnesium in your diet is important, especially if you engage in intense physical activity.

Magnesium and ashwagandha also help in stress relief and relaxation.

You can include magnesium-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish, and whole grains, to ensure you are getting enough magnesium. You can also take a magnesium supplement, but you must talk to your doctor first to determine the appropriate dosage.

Moreover, to get enough magnesium in your diet, you should also ensure that you stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes after intense workouts.

Check the differences between electrolytes and BCAA if you are into intense exercise.

Sweating can cause you to lose electrolytes, including magnesium, so drinking plenty of water and replenishing your electrolytes with sports drinks or supplements is essential.

When Does Low Magnesium Become Fatal?

Severe magnesium deficiency can cause several alarming signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms can lead to possible death, including

  • Cardiac arrhythmias: This is the irregularity in heartbeats. Magnesium is important for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm, and a deficiency can lead to irregular heartbeats and palpitations.
  • Seizures: If you start having no prior history, it can be an alarming sign of severe magnesium deficiency. Magnesium regulates nerve and muscle function, and a deficiency can cause seizures and convulsions.
  • Muscle weakness and spasms: Bodybuilders and athletes experience muscle spasms normally after intense workouts. But if the spasms are abnormally high and unable to stop, it shows a low magnesium level. Eat something high in magnesium and seek medical help.
  • Numbness and tingling: Frequent numbness in limbs and tingling sensations in muscles are other alarming signs of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is involved in nerve function, and a deficiency can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities.
  • Coronary spasms: Coronary spasms are sudden, intense chest pains caused by the contraction of the coronary artery. You will experience intense chest pain or a heart attack in case of severe magnesium deficiency.
  • An abnormal heart rhythm, Hyperventilation, and Hypocalcemic tetany (a condition characterized by muscle spasms, twitching, and spasmodic contractions)
can low magnesium kill you

Special Attention To Magnesium Deficiency for Bodybuilders

Bodybuilders, in particular, need to pay attention to their magnesium intake, as it plays a crucial role in muscle function and recovery. Magnesium is involved in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, and a deficiency can lead to muscle cramps, spasms, and weakness.

Magnesium is a vital mineral crucial in many bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure control.

It is also important for the formation of bones and teeth and is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.

The possibility of magnesium deficiency is slightly higher for bodybuilders because intense exercise uses up the magnesium in the body. Bodybuilders require a higher daily intake of magnesium than regular people.

Generally, an adult male needs about 400 mg of magnesium, and a female need 320 mg of magnesium. For bodybuilders, the daily rate rises to around 400-600 mg.

While magnesium deficiency is relatively rare, it can occur in certain groups of people. Such as those with gastrointestinal disorders, those who take certain medications, and those who consume high amounts of alcohol.

In addition, people who engage in intense physical activity, such as bodybuilders, may be at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency due to increased sweating and loss of electrolytes.

What Does Magnesium Do For Your Body?

Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, which means it’s working tirelessly behind the scenes to support various aspects of our health.

Here are some key areas where magnesium plays a significant role:

Energy production

Magnesium is required to create energy in our cells. It helps convert our food into energy, keeping us active and alert throughout the day.

Muscle and nerve function

Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of our muscles and nerves. It helps maintain a delicate balance of electrical activity, allowing our muscles to contract and relax smoothly and our nerves to transmit signals effectively.

Bone health

Magnesium contributes to the formation and maintenance of strong bones by aiding in calcium absorption. Calcium magnesium deficiency and lack of calcium absorption can lead to Hungry Bone Syndrome (HBS). It also helps regulate hormones that are important for bone health.

Heart health

Magnesium supports a healthy heartbeat by maintaining the electrical activity in our heart cells. It also helps manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Blood sugar control

Magnesium is involved in glucose and insulin metabolism, helping our bodies maintain stable blood sugar levels. This can be particularly beneficial for those with diabetes or at risk of developing the condition.

Mental health

Magnesium plays a role in brain function and mood regulation. It helps maintain healthy levels of neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers responsible for our emotions and cognitive abilities.

Symptoms of Low Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, spasms, irritability, depression, and anxiety. In severe cases, it can lead to low blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and even seizures.

Some common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability, depression, and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Seizures in severe cases
  • Anxiety and depressive episodes
  • Lung issues
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Nausea

Note that some of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions and that magnesium deficiency may not always be the cause.

If you suspect magnesium deficiency, you must talk to your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

How to Test for Magnesium Deficiency at Home?

Along with checking for low magnesium symptoms, you can also do a magnesium challenge test to be sure about the deficiency.

You can do it by taking supplemental magnesium for a short period (e.g., 1-2 weeks) and monitoring any changes in the symptoms. If your symptoms improve, it may suggest you are deficient in magnesium.

However, this is not a definitive test, and you should consult your healthcare professional before starting any supplementation.

“Total Serum Magnesium” Test To Be Confirmed

Your healthcare professional may prescribe a total serum magnesium test if they suspect you have the deficiency.

A serum magnesium test is a way to check the amount of magnesium in your blood. To do this, a healthcare professional will take a blood sample, typically from a vein in the bend of your arm or the back of your hand. They’ll use a needle to get into the vein and then collect the blood in a sealed container or a needle-like device called a syringe.

Normal Magnesium Levels in Blood

A typical blood magnesium level falls between 1.7 and 2.2 mg/dL (0.85 to 1.10 mmol/L). However, what’s considered normal might differ slightly from one lab to another, as magnesium lab values might come from varying methods or testing different samples.

It’s important to discuss your specific test results with your healthcare provider to understand what they mean for you.

What Causes High Magnesium Levels?
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Lithium intake
  • Acute or chronic renal failure
  • Dehydration
  • Milk alkali syndrome
What Causes Low Magnesium Levels?
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Kidney disease
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Pancreatitis
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • High blood pressure and Preeclampsia
  • Ulcerative colitis

Incorporate These Foods To Ensure Daily Magnesium Intake

Bodybuilders can increase their magnesium intake by adding foods high in magnesium to their diet. Some examples include:

Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are all excellent sources of magnesium. They are also high in other essential nutrients such as vitamins K, C, and iron.

Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are all high in magnesium. They are also a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.

Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all high in magnesium. They are also a good source of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

Whole grains: Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and millet are high in magnesium. They are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains high amounts of magnesium. It is also a good source of antioxidants. Cacao nibs are also a great source of magnesium.

Fish: Mackerel, salmon, and halibut are high in magnesium. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of magnesium, as well as healthy fats, fiber, and potassium.

Some fruits like papaya, raspberries, cantaloupe, and coconut also contain a good amount of magnesium. So you know now that getting a daily magnesium intake isn’t tricky.

Furthermore, you can easily increase your magnesium intake by mixing a scoop of magnesium supplement powder in your drink. Speaking of drinks, they are also an easy way to get the daily amount of magnesium in your body.

Drinks That Are High in Magnesium

Here are a few drinks that contain a considerable amount of magnesium per serving:

  • Water with added magnesium: Magnesium-enhanced water typically contains around 50mg of magnesium per liter
  • Coconut water: Some brands of coconut water contain around 25 mg of magnesium per cup (240ml)
  • Matcha: One cup of green tea contains around 230 mg of magnesium
  • Raw Milk: A cup (240 ml) of raw milk contains around 24mg of magnesium
  • Orange Juice: A cup of Orange Juice contains around 50mg of magnesium
  • Papaya Juice: A glass of papaya juice contains a whopping 71 mg of magnesium
  • Some beer and wine, depending on the type and brand, can contain around 15-20 mg of magnesium per serving


How does magnesium deficiency occur?

Magnesium deficiency can occur due to various factors, including poor diet, certain medical conditions, and medications. People who engage in intense physical activity, such as bodybuilders, may be at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency due to increased sweating and loss of electrolytes.

Can you be hospitalized for low magnesium?

Yes, in some cases, low magnesium levels can lead to hospitalization. Severe magnesium deficiency can cause cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, muscle weakness, and other severe medical symptoms. If you experience any alarming symptoms of magnesium deficiency, seek immediate medical attention.

Can low magnesium cause permanent damage?

Prolonged and untreated magnesium deficiency can lead to permanent damage in your body. Particularly in the case of seizures, muscle weakness, and cardiac arrhythmias. It can also cause long-term health problems such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.


Magnesium deficiency has a low potential to be fatal. However, it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. We suggested some magnesium-rich food and drinks, so it’s not difficult to ensure daily magnesium for your body.

Always pay attention to your nutrient intake to avoid health complications. Because bodybuilders use up much strength and nutrients during workouts and competitions.

Don’t forget to check our blogs on magnesium and other supplements.

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