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The Link Between Magnesium Deficiency and Hydration Levels

Can Magnesium Deficiency Affect Hydration?

The Link Between Magnesium Deficiency and Hydration Levels


Have you ever experienced dehydration so acutely that your skin feels parched, your mouth resembles a barren landscape, and your hands and legs begin to resemble a flaky autumn leaf? It's as though every step you take echoes the arid paths of the Sahara Desert.

You may reach for a tall glass of water in hopes of relief, but sometimes, simple hydration doesn't fully address the underlying issue, especially if you're grappling with cellular dehydration.

Understanding Cellular Dehydration

Cellular dehydration, a condition in which our body's cells are starved of the water they require to function efficiently, affects the internal environment of these cells, precipitating a myriad of physiological reactions.

Let's delve into the transformative processes occurring at the cellular level in the face of dehydration:

Loss of cell volume

A majority of cell volume is constituted by water. Dehydration results in water loss, causing cells to contract or decrease size. This reduction in volume bears implications for both cell structure and functionality.

Compromised Nutrient Transport

The pivotal role played by water in ferrying nutrients and other vital molecules to and from cells cannot be underestimated. When dehydration strikes, the economies of nutrient transport are disrupted due to water scarcity, resulting in diminished nutrient delivery and hampered cellular metabolism.

Disrupted Biochemical Reactions

Water mediates various cellular processes and biochemical reactions, from protein synthesis to DNA replication to enzyme activity. These quintessential functions become unsteady on the rocky ground of dehydration.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Dehydration is not merely a process of water loss; it also risks draining the body of essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium. These electrolytes rule the roost in regulating membrane potential and enzyme activity, which is crucial for healthy cellular functioning. An electrolyte imbalance caused by dehydration, including chronic diarrhea, may further impair cellular health.

Cellular Stress

Dehydration is a potent stressor for cells, inciting responses such as activating signaling pathways that either endorse cell survival or instigate programmed cell death, known as apoptosis. Persistent cellular dehydration may pave the way for cellular damage and dysfunction.

Impaired Cellular Communication

Cells engage in a dynamic discourse via various signaling molecules, many of which are water-soluble. Dehydration can freeze this cellular dialogue, influencing cell signaling, growth, and differentiation.

The Importance of Hydration for Overall Health

Cellular dehydration may arise due to several reasons, whether it's insufficient fluid consumption, excessive fluid loss through mechanisms like sweating or diarrhea, medical conditions that disrupt the body's water equilibrium (such as diabetes insipidus), or imbalances or deficiencies in essential electrolytes akin to calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.

Hydration holds paramount importance for our overall health and wellness for several reasons:

Body Temperature Regulation

As a temperature regulator, water assures your body's cooling process via sweating and evaporation. Sufficient hydration helps your body maintain a proper cooling mechanism during physical activity or high-temperature exposure.

Nutrient and Oxygen Transport

Water is the primary constituent of blood and is responsible for ferrying nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to cells. Hydration ensures an efficient delivery system and supports cellular function and overall health.

Waste product removal

The kidneys rely heavily on water to filter the bloodstream's waste products and toxins, subsequently excreting them via urine. Optimal hydration bolsters kidney function, warding off an accumulation of waste products that potentially invite health issues.

Joint Lubrication

Water forms a crucial part of synovial fluid, our bodies' natural joint lubricant and shock absorber. Proper hydration guarantees ample synovial fluid, promoting joint health and mobility.

Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Water acts as a facilitator in the digestion process and nutrient absorption from our food. It helps dissolve nutrients and breaks down food particles, making their journey through the digestive tract smoother.

Electrolyte Balance

Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are vital for many physiological functions, including muscle movements, nerve signaling, and fluid balance. Adequate hydration helps maintain this electrolyte equilibrium, supporting these critical processes.

Cognitive Function

Insufficient hydration can inhibit cognitive functions, decreasing concentration, alertness, and short-term memory. Adequate hydration is critical to optimal brain function and mental acuity.

Physical Performance

Even a hint of dehydration can negatively impact physical performance by inducing fatigue, reducing endurance, and curbing strength. Proper hydration is of utmost importance for peak athletic performance and fast recovery.

Spotlight on Magnesium: The Unsung Hero

Today, our spotlight is on magnesium—a critical yet often overlooked mineral. Surprisingly, a significant portion of the population suffers from magnesium deficiency unknowingly, according to a systematic review of studies. This oversight largely stems from many healthcare practitioners relying solely on testing magnesium serum levels through blood tests. This approach inadequately reflects the body's magnesium status, especially in healthy people.

Magnesium, in essence, is an intracellular mineral, predominantly residing inside cells rather than circulating in the bloodstream. The body meticulously regulates its blood magnesium levels, preserving them within a narrow range essential for survival. This regulation means that blood tests may only reveal a deficiency once it becomes significantly advanced, making it necessary to monitor serum magnesium levels and magnesium levels in soft tissues and potassium levels. Each method is considered only satisfactory for assessing magnesium status, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach, including oral magnesium supplementation. When serum levels dip low enough to be detected, the individual may already face a severe, potentially life-threatening deficiency of the body’s magnesium and soft tissues.

Understanding the predominantly intracellular nature of magnesium unveils why conventional testing methods fall short. It is an essential mineral and electrolyte that participates in over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body, supporting everything from muscle and nerve function to energy production and bone health. There is strong evidence that magnesium is crucial in various therapeutic uses, such as its effectiveness in treating eclampsia. A deficiency not only impacts these vital processes but can also set the stage for serious health issues, including heart problems, diabetes, and mood disorders. Additionally, magnesium is critical in regulating urine output, making it an essential mineral for hydration.

Recognizing the signs of magnesium deficiency early on prevents its progression into more severe health conditions. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, muscle spasms or tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, and mood swings. Given the limitations of serum magnesium tests, individuals and healthcare providers should consider these symptoms alongside risk factors such as diet, lifestyle, and existing health conditions to make a more informed assessment of magnesium status. If you experience any of these magnesium deficiency symptoms, including severe symptoms such as persistent muscle contractions, arrhythmia, and seizures, or if you have low levels of magnesium in your body for a long time, it is essential to consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment, as these individuals are at an increased risk for developing health issues related to severe magnesium deficiency.

The Vital Roles of Magnesium in the Body

Magnesium is a vital mineral that serves a multitude of critical functions in the body, which include:

Catalyzing Enzymatic Reactions

Operating as a cofactor, magnesium aids several hundred enzymes in various biochemical reactions crucial for energy generation, protein formation, DNA/RNA synthesis, and muscle function.

Facilitating Energy Production

Integral to energy metabolism, magnesium is necessary for transforming carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into usable energy. It is vital in crafting ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the cells' principal energy molecule.

Regulating Muscle Function

Magnesium is imperative for the correct mechanics of muscle movement, aiding in the delicate balance between muscle contraction and relaxation. It manages calcium's role in muscle contraction as a gatekeeper to prevent excessive muscle activity and avert cramps and spasms.

Supporting Nervous System Health

Its role extends to the nervous system, where magnesium regulates neurotransmitter release and nerve activity. It modifies NMDA receptor actions, which are essential for neural plasticity, learning, and memory.

Maintaining Bone Integrity

Magnesium not only forms a component of bone but also participates in bone development and renovation. Working in concert with calcium and vitamin D it ensures bones remain dense and strong, lowering the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures.

Promoting Heart Health

Vital for cardiac health, magnesium ensures a stable heart rhythm and muscular function of the heart, including producing the ATP required for heartbeats. Magnesium deficiency has been connected to heightened chances of arrhythmias and heart disease.

Regulating Blood Pressure

Magnesium influences vascular tone and the function of endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, aiding in blood vessel relaxation and improved blood flow, which in turn aids in sustaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Controlling Glucose Metabolism

It's instrumental in the mechanisms of insulin action and glucose use. Magnesium promotes insulin sensitivity and glucose absorption into cells, playing a role in blood sugar management. Its deficiency might lead to insulin resistance and an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency, also known medically as hypomagnesemia, exhibits a spectrum of symptoms that can vary in severity from mild annoyances to significant health issues. Notable symptoms linked to a lack of magnesium include:

Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Essential for muscle relaxation, insufficient magnesium levels commonly result in uncomfortable spasms or cramps, with the legs often being affected.

Fatigue and Weakness

As a critical player in the body's energy production processes, a shortage of magnesium can cause feelings of tiredness, physical weakness, and an overall sense of fatigue.

Nausea and Gastrointestinal Discomfort

In more acute cases, magnesium deficiency can provoke gastrointestinal distress, including nausea, vomiting, and a diminished appetite.

Numbness and Sensory Disturbances

Deficiency can impair nerve function, leading to numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" sensation, primarily in the hands and feet.

Heart Rhythm Irregularities

Given magnesium's role in heart health, a deficiency can unsettle the heart's rhythm, manifesting as palpitations or arrhythmias and potentially escalating to more grave cardiac conditions.

Muscle Weakness and Tremors

Beyond cramping, a lack of magnesium can lead to a broader state of muscle weakness and noticeable tremors.

Mood Fluctuations

Emotional symptoms, like heightened irritability, anxiety, or episodes of depression, have been associated with magnesium deficiency, likely due to its influence on neurotransmitter functions.

Sleep Disruption

An insufficient magnesium level can negatively affect sleep quality, contributing to insomnia or challenges in initiating sleep.

Headaches and Migraines

There is evidence to suggest that those with low magnesium levels may experience a higher incidence of headaches and migraines, although the underlying reasons are still being explored.

Elevated Blood Pressure

In some instances, magnesium deficiency has been linked to increased blood pressure, though this isn't a universal symptom.

Magnesium's Role in Hydration and Health

Regarding hydration, magnesium significantly contributes in several fundamental ways:

Balancing Electrolytes

Magnesium is one of the principal electrolytes, along with sodium, potassium, and calcium, for maintaining the body's fluid equilibrium. It manages the transfer of other electrolytes into and out of cells, which is critical for preserving appropriate hydration levels.

Enabling Cellular Hydration

Magnesium plays a part in shuttling water through cell membranes. It regulates the function of aquaporins, specialized proteins that expedite water motion across cell barriers. Thus, ensuring aquaporins operate correctly assists in keeping cells adequately hydrated.

Ensuring Muscle Function

Magnesium requires sufficient hydration for proper muscle operation, particularly the efficient contraction, and relaxation of smooth muscles. It aids in sustaining optimal muscle hydration levels, is critical for peak muscle performance, and prevents muscular cramping during physical activities.

Supporting Kidney Function

It aids kidney function, especially in managing electrolyte concentration within urine. Thus helping the body retain an appropriate balance of water and electrolytes and further promoting overall hydration.

Regulating Hormone Levels

Magnesium's function extends to regulating various hormones, including the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which controls the body's water balance by determining how much water the kidneys reabsorb. By supporting hormone balance, magnesium indirectly helps maintain accurate hydration levels.

Common Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency may result from a combination of factors, such as dietary shortcomings, physiological issues, lifestyle choices, and certain health conditions. Here's an overview of prevalent causes contributing to low magnesium levels:

Insufficient Magnesium in Diet

Many diets lack enough magnesium-rich sources like nuts, seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, legumes, and particular fish types. A lack of these foods can lead to a deficiency in magnesium intake.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Issues such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and persistent diarrhea can compromise magnesium absorption or heighten its loss, causing deficiency over time.


Chronic alcohol consumption can induce magnesium deficiency via a combination of inadequate nutritional intake, reduced absorption, heightened urinary loss, and gastrointestinal issues connected to liver disease caused by alcohol.

Medication Interference

Some medications disrupt magnesium absorption or promote its loss, potentially resulting in deficiency; these include diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, specific antibiotics, and drugs prescribed for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Chronic Stress

Sustained stress can deplete magnesium due to elevated cortisol levels, increasing magnesium loss through urine. This phenomenon is known as the "magnesium burn rate," where stressed individuals burn through magnesium reserves more rapidly than usual.


The risk of magnesium deficiency can rise with age because of changes in digestion, absorption, diet, and medication use.

Particular Health Problems

Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney disorders, and pancreatitis can all increase magnesium loss or hinder its cellular uptake, paving the way for a deficiency.

Excessive Sweating

Intense physical activity or exposure to heat can lead to considerable magnesium loss through sweat. Proper fluid and electrolyte replacement can result in a magnesium shortfall.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Needs

With higher magnesium demands during pregnancy and lactation, women might face deficiency risks if their dietary intake doesn't meet their body's needs.

Soil and Water Depletion

Unfortunately, due to modern farming practices, many agricultural regions suffer from magnesium-depleted soils, causing crops to have lower magnesium content. This issue extends to lowered magnesium levels in water, contributing to widespread dietary gaps in magnesium.

How to Address Magnesium Deficiency

To accurately determine your magnesium levels and evaluate the balance of essential electrolytes, we recommend conducting a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). By analyzing the mineral content of your hair, the HTMA can offer insights into your body's mineral balance and potential issues with cellular hydration. To proceed with this test and gain valuable health insights, schedule your HTMA today!

Additionally, to support your magnesium levels, you might explore our Upgraded Magnesium supplement. It stands out in the market as the only magnesium product backed by clinical evidence to be effective. Give it a try and feel the difference in your health and wellness.


In conclusion, cellular dehydration can significantly impact our body's fundamental processes and is often exacerbated by the commonly overlooked magnesium deficiency. Magnesium's integral role in maintaining electrolyte balance, water transport, and muscular and nervous system function further underscores the importance of addressing this deficiency to enhance hydration and overall well-being. Despite the widespread nature of this ailment, it remains underdiagnosed due to the limitations of standard serum testing. By considering a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, individuals can better understand their cellular mineral status and take informed steps toward optimal hydration and health. Therefore, reevaluating our magnesium intake and staying informed through proper testing could be the key to unlocking a more hydrated, healthier life in line with our body's natural needs.

Barbara Madimenos

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner

Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner

Integrative Nutrition Coach

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