What is hypomagnesaemia?

Hypomagnesaemia, or low magnesium, is an electrolyte disturbance caused when there is a low level of serum magnesium (less than 1.46 mg/dL) in the blood. In this condition, your body may not be able to properly use calcium, which can lead to conditions such as hypocalcaemia and tetany. Magnesium plays an important role in the structure of bones, the functioning of muscles and maintaining normal heart rhythm.


These include weakness, fatigue, tremors, loss of appetite and nausea. The person may also have muscle spasms or cramps, tingling sensations and numbness in the hands and feet. Other symptoms include decreased attention span, forgetfulness, confusion and depression. When untreated, patients can develop personality changes such as irritability and altered behaviour. In more severe cases it can cause floppy baby syndrome which leads to impaired development of motor skills in children. This condition is particularly dangerous for people with pre-existing heart conditions, kidney disease and diabetes. It has been linked to a number of other serious health problems including an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

Long term risks

Damage to the liver, kidneys and heart can occur if blood magnesium levels remain low for an extended period of time. Heart attack, seizures, or death can result from severe hypomagnesemia episodes. Maintaining sufficient levels of magnesium through diet and supplementation may decrease these risks. Magnesium supplements are available in many forms including capsules, tablets, powders and liquids. Some patients find it easier to take a liquid form such as Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Malate with food. For other patients, a powder such as Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Oxide works best because it can be added to juice, water or milk without changing its taste.

How is it treated?

Treatment for hypomagnesemalism depends on what caused it. The first step to treating any condition is identifying its root cause, so your doctor will perform a number of tests to figure out what exactly has gone wrong. If they do find a cause, like a kidney disease or too much medication, they’ll treat that in order to remedy your low magnesium levels. But if there isn’t an underlying issue, doctors may give you oral supplements and recommend lifestyle changes to help you get more magnesium into your system. Magnesium can be found in foods like spinach and almonds, as well as certain medications (like some diuretics). Your doctor may also prescribe IV infusions with higher doses of magnesium if oral supplements aren’t working quickly enough.

Dietary requirements

The common denominator in hypomagnesemia cases is a low intake of magnesium; most patients are consuming less than 200 mg of magnesium per day. That’s a concern because, according to some research, at least half of us aren’t getting enough magnesium through our diets. Most experts recommend that adults consume 400-420 mg of magnesium each day. Foods rich in magnesium include leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, whole grains and fish. Magnesium can also be found in supplements (including multivitamins) but it’s important to check with your doctor before taking any kind of supplement as it may interact with other medications you take or have other side effects.


There are many causes of magnesium deficiency, including eating a low-magnesium diet and heavy alcohol consumption. It’s also common for people with chronic diseases to develop magnesium deficiency. The symptoms of low magnesium include muscle weakness, cognitive impairment, and neurological side effects like seizures. Severe cases can be fatal because severe hypomagnesemia can result in respiratory arrest. If you suspect that you have low magnesium levels, it’s important to get your levels checked by a doctor. In some cases, you may need supplementation or treatment from your doctor. If left untreated, it could lead to more serious conditions such as heart attack or stroke.

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