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A Magnesium Deficit & Dehydration

author image Lynne Sheldon
Lynne Sheldon has over 12 years of dance experience, both in studios and performance groups. She is an avid runner and has studied several types of yoga. Sheldon now works as a freelance writer, editor and book reviewer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history from Boston University and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Pacific University.
A Magnesium Deficit & Dehydration
Foods rich in magnesium. Photo Credit cegli/iStock/Getty Images

Magnesium is imperative for your organs, teeth and bones, and it also helps regulate your energy levels. Most Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diets, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. If you have recently suffered from an intestinal virus that caused vomiting or diarrhea, you may have become dehydrated and temporarily deficient in magnesium. Talk to your doctor about proper fluid and magnesium intake, and seek medical attention if you have a severe illness that results in dehydration.

Symptoms of a Deficiency

While your diet may not include enough magnesium, a true deficiency of it is rare. Furthermore, the symptoms of a deficit in this mineral can vary, but they often include things like agitation, anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping and confusion. You may also experience an abnormal heart rhythm, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, spasms, hyperventilation, seizures and poor nail growth. As the deficiency worsens, you may experience a rapid heartbeat, followed by delirium, numbness, tingling and hallucinations.

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Causes of a Deficiency

Certain conditions and lifestyle choices can contribute to a deficiency in magnesium. Gastrointestinal viruses and diseases like irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis can upset your body’s balance of this mineral, as well as lead to dehydration. Drinking too much coffee, soda or alcohol or eating too much salt can also result in dehydration and a magnesium deficiency, as can excessive sweating. Certain medications, such as diuretics, can lower your magnesium levels as well.

Signs and Causes of Dehydration

When you lose more bodily fluids than you take in, this is known as dehydration. Many of the same factors that can result in a magnesium deficiency can cause dehydration as well, including vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating and an increase in urination. Signs of mild dehydration include a dry mouth, thirst, sleepiness, dry skin, headaches, constipation and dizziness. These symptoms will become more severe as your dehydration progresses.

RDA, Sources and Prevention

Making sure that you meet the RDA in magnesium will help prevent a deficiency. Adult and adolescent women need 280 to 300 mg a day, and men need 270 to 400 mg a day, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. If you are an athlete or engage in activities that cause you to sweat excessively, however, you may need more than this to prevent a deficiency as well as ward off dehydration. Your doctor can help you determine the right amounts for you.

Good food sources of magnesium include tofu, whole grains, legumes, wheat bran, leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Eating a large amount of fruits and vegetables can help prevent dehydration as well, as can drinking an adequate amount of fluids. If you have an illness that is causing you to vomit, be sure to stay hydrated to prevent dehydration and a magnesium deficit from occurring.

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