When your heartbeat, blood pressure and blood sugar levels stay steady, you have magnesium to thank in part. Magnesium is a mineral responsible for maintaining muscle and nerve function. If you do not have enough magnesium in your body, you can experience tachycardia, a condition that causes your heart to beat faster than normal.
Dietary sources of magnesium include whole grains, nuts and green vegetables. While many Americans do not get enough magnesium in their daily diets, an insufficient dietary intake is rarely the cause of heartbeat-related magnesium symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Instead, magnesium deficiency typically is cause by an underlying illness, such as an intestinal virus that caused extreme diarrhea or vomiting. Kidney disease, irritable bowel syndrome or pancreatitis also can cause magnesium deficiencies in the body.
Magnesium is responsible for helping your muscles contract and relax. This is important to maintaining the delicate balance that is your heartbeat. When you lack magnesium, the heart cannot control its electrical signals as well. Instead of beating at a normal pace, your heart begins to speed up, making you feel jittery and nervous. Changes in heartbeat typically begin to occur when you are experiencing a moderate level of magnesium deficiency, according to MedlinePlus. If your body continues to lose magnesium, your heartbeat may continue to speed faster.
Other symptoms that can signal a magnesium deficiency are unexplained agitation, difficulty going to sleep, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, hyperventilation and confusion. If you experience these symptoms along with a rapid heartbeat, seek immediate medical attention.
Magnesium-deficiency-induced tachycardia is cause for concern because the disturbance in heart function increases your risk for cardiac arrest and stroke. Because it’s also the sign of an underlying medical condition, it’s important to seek treatment as quickly as possible. If you have experienced a cardiac event in the past, your physician may recommend taking magnesium because it helps to reduce your risk of cardiac rhythm concerns, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Before taking a supplement, talk to your physician about how magnesium could help your heart health.