Magnesium Deficiency Joint Pain

Joint pain is a common complaint that can make you feel like avoiding your favorite activities and staying home all day. Although a number of factors can contribute to or exacerbate joint pain, research has found that a magnesium deficiency can also cause abnormalities in your joints and lead to joint pain. Consult your doctor before using magnesium supplements.

A woman is holding her knee. (Image: lzf/iStock/Getty Images)

Importance of Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that plays a role in numerous bodily processes, including maintaining normal functioning of your muscles and nerves, helping with the absorption of calcium and other nutrients, and assisting cardiovascular functioning. Magnesium is found in dietary sources such as leafy greens and nuts, yet most Americans do not obtain enough magnesium from their diets. A lack of magnesium, also known as hypomagnesemia, can cause a number of troublesome symptoms, including weakness, seizures and low levels of calcium in your blood. Additionally, some research has found that low levels of magnesium may also play a contributing role in certain chronic joint pain conditions.

Joint Pain and Magnesium Deficiency

Low magnesium can cause problems with the functioning of your skeletal muscles, including twitching, sore muscles, back and neck pain, and headaches. Additionally, patients who suffer from chronic joint pain conditions such as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis often have abnormally low levels of magnesium, and may also be at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are linked to a magnesium deficiency, either due to low dietary intake or malabsorption problems, says clinical nutritionist Krispin Sullivan on her website. The recommended intake of magnesium for women is between 310 and 320 milligrams per day, and for men it is 400 to 420 milligrams per day as per the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

Clinical Evidence

Many of the available clinical studies linking magnesium deficiency with joint pain have been performed on laboratory animals. A study published in 2000 in the journal, "Archives of Toxicology," found that magnesium deficiency was associated with joint weakness and cartilage abnormalities in dogs. However, some studies on humans have also linked magnesium deficiency to certain joint pain conditions. A clinical case study, published in January 2009 in the "New England Journal of Medicine," found that a 50-year old woman with severe joint pain caused by chondrocalcinosis, a type of rheumatic condition, also suffered from chronic hypomagnesemia. A clinical review, published in the December 2004 issue of the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry," also demonstrated a link between magnesium deficiency with osteoporosis.

Considerations

While magnesium deficiency appears to be linked to several chronic joint pain conditions, you should never use magnesium supplements to self-treat your condition. Do not attempt to self-diagnose your condition. If you suffer from joint pain, consult your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and to discuss potential treatment options.

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