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Magnesium Deficiency: Signs You Are Deficient, Best Foods & Remedies

A Magnesium deficiency can eventually show up as a host of symptoms, ranging from muscle soreness to poor bone strength, irritability, insomnia and more.

Magnesium is a vital nutrient that is concentrated in a number of plant whole foods that many people simply do not get enough of it in their diet.

So, what exactly is Magnesium, why is it important and how can you avoid deficiency? 

Here, we unpack this all important topic for you in simple terms...

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a ‘Master’ mineral that is abundant in nature and essential for the proper functioning of many of your body’s physiological processes.

Its importance to your health can be attributed to the role it plays in regulating calcium, potassium and salt levels, as well as being vital to the healthy functioning of your cells and numerous other biochemical processes in your body.

Why is Magnesium Important for the Body?

Magnesium plays an important role in just about every process in the body some of the most vital include:

  • Energy production
  • Formation of bones
  • Powering enzymes
  • Protecting DNA
  • Regulating electrolyte balance 
  • Replenishing depleted soft tissues

Magnesium also serves the body by regulating nerve impulses and it aids in the formation of neurotransmitters.

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is regularly found in chronic alcoholics and in those who frequently take diuretic medications.

It also tends to cause similar ailments and conditions that can be the result of deficiencies in sodium and potassium such as the following:

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Confusion
  • Cramps
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Sleeping Issues

What causes magnesium deficiency?

Dietary Intake

The over consumption of processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, salt and chemical additives, as well as synthetic vitamins, phosphates and animal protein, all place demands on the body that increases its need for magnesium. 

The secret to solving this problem is incorporating a number of locally grown, seasonal whole foods that are known for their rich magnesium content that we will share with you here. 


Unfortunately, most municipal water supplies are full of toxic chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. Magnesium will bind to substances like these, making it less available for your body to absorb.

Too Much Calcium

Many processed foods such as factory-farmed dairy products and fruit drinks can have calcium artificially added to them.

Additionally, many supplements and prescription medications have high levels of calcium as ingredients. If the body’s calcium levels become too elevated this can lead to ‘calcification’.

This is a problem because your cells have a sodium/potassium mechanism that serves to balance mineral levels from within and without.

If your body is deficient in magnesium, this regulating mechanism doesn’t function properly and too much calcium gets inside cells, exacerbating the problem. 

The best way to strengthen your bones is not to eat more calcium, but rather to eat more nature-made salt, because the body naturally ionises salt into calcium to help strengthen your bones.

Stress, Illness & Ageing

Anything that causes increased stress on the body also increases the body’s need for magnesium. Additionally, stress can reduce the levels of acidity in the stomach, making it less effective at breaking down and fermenting foods which leads to a reduction in how much magnesium can actually get absorbed.

Supplementing with Magnesium

Many people believe that the consumption of magnesium pills and capsules will fix the problem of deficiency.

However, most supplements contain binders and other additives that can be can add to toxicity in the body and be unrecognisable to your cells.

Its best to choose whole food sources that carry 'life force' and which your cells can identify with. 

Whole Foods

A diet that includes foods high in magnesium can help reduce systematic bodily stress, irritability and muscle weakness.

Whole foods that contain the richest sources of magnesium include:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Legumes
  • Lemons
  • Nuts
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Pineapple
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
As always, be sure to shop for your fresh seasonal produce at local farmer's markets whenever you can to avoid chemical sprays commonly associated with mass farmed and distributed produce.

    Magnesium Oil

    Most commonly referred to as an oil, Magnesium Oil is actually a highly concentrated solution of Magnesium Chloride in water. 

    Using magnesium oil on the skin, generally called transdermal magnesium therapy, is a simple and quick way of restoring depleted magnesium stores in the body. 

    It also works to increase circulation, promote the removal of toxins and helps draw out inflammation, as well as to relieve body aches and cramps, including period pain and is also an excellent muscle relaxant.

    Magnesium Mineral Flakes

    Dry flakes of pure Magnesium Chloride can assist in the relief of general skin conditions and is suitable for use with children to help calm them down or boost their immune systems.  Use magnesium flakes to infuse a hot bath for soaking the body.

    Epsom Salt

    Although not as concentrated as pure magnesium chloride, magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom Salt, is a natural mineral compound made up of tiny clear crystals providing similar benefits to whole food and mineral sources of magnesium.  Epsom Salts should be a regular 'go-to' as an additive to hot baths if you frequently suffer from muscle or joint pain.

    How to Get More Magnesium into your Body

    Apart from increasing your intake of whole foods high in this vital mineral, due to its nature, as mentioned above, Magnesium can also be readily absorbed into your body via your skin. 

    This is why hot bath soaks containing pure magnesium flakes and/or epsom salts can be very effective.

    Remember, your skin is cytophylactic, meaning it is extremely absorbent just like a sponge and therefore very effective at drawing in mineral nutrients when exposed to them.

    In other words, both magnesium chloride and magnesium suflate are both easily absorbed through your skin when dissolved in hot water. 

    More on Bathing with Magnesium

    As already mentioned, soaking in a warm or hot bath mixed with either pure Magnesium Bath Flakes or Epsom Salts is one of the best ways for your body to absorb magnesium through your skin.

    If you don't have a bathtub, you can add 1 cup into a foot bath to reap similar benefits, because the pores of your feet are one of the most absorbent areas of the body.

    Soaking in magnesium not only relaxes muscles, hydrates the skin, aids the healing of wounds and reduces inflammation, but can also help with headaches and migraines, sleeplessness, as well as improve your general wellbeing.

    Mix 1-3 cups of Magnesium Bath Flakes or Epsom Salt into a running warm bath, add 10-13 drops of lavender and/or tea tree essential and enjoy a relaxation soak for 30 minutes.

    If you want the convenience of a ready made bath salt blend that combines both magnesium flakes and epsom salts, together with pure essential oils, try our handcrafted Detox Bath Salts available in three fantastic varieties in our store at


    By adding magnesium oil spray to regular massage oil, your masseuse can help deliver magnesium directly through your skin and muscles into your body. 

    If you're looking for a particular oil to give your masseuse to use, we recommend dōTERRA's proprietary massage blend, AromaTouch.

    To massage yourself in areas you can reach, you can also dispense 1-3 sprays into a cupped hand, then rub into the skin thoroughly. Repeat to cover arms, legs, and any areas needing special attention.

    The Main Takeaway

    Magnesium is a vital mineral nutrient that your body needs to support muscle and nerve function and energy production.

    That's why a deficiency in magnesium usually shows up as some form of ongoing body fatigue or pain, irritability or constant tiredness.

    The best way to get back on track is to ensure that you're including enough seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains that are locally sourced. 

    In addition, begin incorporating regular mineral rich bath soaks into your self care routine, avoid processed and refined foods and synthetic supplements, and you'll go a long way to making magnesium deficiency a thing of the past.

    Tolman Self Care.


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