Magnesium is a naturally-occurring mineral that is found in both seawater and in the earth's upper crust. It is known by its chemical element abbreviation of Mg, as well as its atomic number of 12. It has a soft gray appearance and has an alkaline makeup. It was first discovered in 1618, but not chemically produced until 1808. People who are healthy and suffer from no health complications are advised to consume around 310 mg of magnesium each day. It is most often found in foods like leafy greens, nuts, fish, beans, whole grains, and avocados, among other foods.

Signs of a Magnesium Deficiency

Despite dietary experts recommending that people eat at least 310 mg of magnesium per day, many individuals with poor diets fail to consume enough of it. Magnesium deficiency has a number of different physical and intellectual symptoms. Physical side effects of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms and weakness, tics, hyperactive reflexes, tremors, and impaired muscle function. Neurological side effects include lethargy, irritability, impaired memory, and seizures.

Treating this mineral deficiency is easy, however. Patients will be prescribed supplements and monitored closely by their primary physicians until their magnesium levels are restored. More severe cases may require that patients receive intravenous magnesium treatments.

Magnesium Excess

Hypermagnesium is a condition that is caused by consuming too much magnesium. This illness affects the kidneys and can cause these organs to fail entirely. Other symptoms of hypermagnesium include impaired breathing, weakness, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, and asystole.

Treating this condition requires that people receive intravenous calcium gluconate. More severe cases of this mineral toxicity may require that patients undergo dialysis to restore their kidney function. Less severe cases of hypermagnesium can be treated by simply weaning patients from their magnesium supplements or removing most or all of the mineral from their diets.