Magnesium Deficiency: Pain, Headache/Migraines, IBS & Much More!

In Blog by Alyssa Reid4 Comments

According to USDA guidelines, it is believed that up to 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.  When you read through the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, many of them ring true in regards to fibromyalgia and CFS/ME/SEID symptoms…Magnesium deficiency causes many issues from muscle pain to migraines and headaches, IBS, heart palpitations and much more.

So, I have to ask, is magnesium deficiency (and other nutrient deficiencies) possibly one of the root causes of fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and many other conditions and symptoms?

In  many cases, magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies goes unnoticed, and untested –  yet they are extremely common!  Even more important to know is that over 99% of magnesium tests are inaccurate!

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Muscular symptoms (cramps, tremor, fasciculations, spasms, tetany, weakness), fatigue, loss of appetite, apathy, confusion, insomnia, irritability, migraines, poor memory, constipation and reduced ability to learn.  (Sound like fibromyalgia, CFS/ME?!)

Moderate to severe magnesium deficiency can cause tingling or numbness, heart changes, rapid heartbeat, continued muscle contractions, nausea, vomiting, personality changes, delirium, hallucinations, low calcium levels, low serum potassium levels, retention of sodium, low circulating levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), in fact, magnesium deficiency can even cause heart failure.  (So no joke…this stuff is serious shizzle and it’s important to be EDUCATED about it).

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms/Related Conditions

    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
    • Fibromyalgia
    • ADHD
    • Epilepsy
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Sleep problems
    • Migraine
    • Cluster headaches
    • Osteoporosis
    • Premenstrual syndrome
    • Chest pain (angina)
    • Cardiac arrhythmias
    • Heart palpitations
    • Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis
    • Hypertension
    • Type II diabetes
    • Asthma
    • Depression
    • Osteophytes
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

And It’s Not That Simple to Diagnose…

You would think that a basic mineral such as magnesium would be easy to diagnose if there was a deficiency.  WRONG.

To get an accurate test, it needs to be carried out through testing the tissue for electrolytes.  In fact, the usual testing only shows less than  1% of magnesium in the body is found in the blood and only .3% is found in blood serum. Therefore, if you have already had a blood test (like I have) and it showed up as ‘normal’ (like mine was), there is 99.7% that this was INCORRECT.


One of the ‘issues’ I have also been experiencing (now wearing my doctor’s hat and self-diagnosing, because my doctor(s) have been, well, not clued up…is I fully believe that I have got calcium phosphate nodules all over my body…particularly my back/ribs.  (My GP said they are muscle spasms.  They are not muscle spasms!!!  And there literally hundreds all over me.)

This can be due to magnesium deficiency and when you do some digging, you will find that most people with fibromyalgia and CFS/ME have them.  Meanwhile… my magnesium test results came back as ‘normal’.  Considering my diet is far from great at the moment and knowing (now) that the test results are highly inaccurate, I fully believe that I have a magnesium deficiency. (More like, how could I NOT have a magnesium deficiency…!).

I also have TONS of bone spurs on my neck and back (and growing into my spinal cord…great!). After doing my research (and being the Google doctor that I am (simply because I am not getting answers – and help any other way), I fully believe they have formed due to magnesium deficiency…

However, you can test yourself to see if you identify with these symptoms and lifestyle scenarios.


Many medications deplete magnesium levels even more…For a full list of medications both prescription and OTC please go here.


One question we all need to be asking is, ‘Why am I nutrient deficient?’.

Firstly, we know that our western diets filled with empty calories, loaded with chemicals and preservatives, most certainly is far from being nutritious.  Even our soil that we’re growing crops in is now deficient of the important nutrients that feeds our crops – and us.

In saying this…and this is a critical and important thing for you to know… Parasites can be a cause of your nutrient deficiency (not to mention many other health issues!).

Parasites actually leach nutrients from our bodies.  B12, potassium, vitamin D and magnesium are 4 nutrients that many of us are deficient in with fibromyalgia.  As well…parasites actually burrow into our joints and muscles – causing pain and aching!

They are considered as a ‘toxin’.

How Toxic Are You?  Take the Quiz HERE!

There is Help!

As  I continue to say…it’s imperative to research and educate ourselves as much as we possibly can, if we hope to gain improvement in our health – and our lives.

Dr Carolyn Dean, from my research seems to be the number 1 guru in regards to magnesium.

Take a few minutes to go on to YouTube and watch/listen to some of the talks Dr Dean has given.  Eye opening!

Magnesium (and the lack thereof) is the number 1 mineral our bodies require to function properly. Without it – well – bodily chaos.  As Dr Dean says, ‘magnesium is the missing link to total health’.

Before you go running out to grab some magnesium…DO YOUR RESEARCH.  There are a variety of different types and definitely different qualities (as with everything in regards to supplements – an unregulated market).

Make sure you get the correct one – and that you dose correctly.  (See below for dosing and magnesium that is reputable).

Magnesium – Great for Headaches & Migraines

In a study, researchers at the Neurology Department of Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey discovered that taking magnesium can help to prevent and reduce migraine attacks. The people in the study suffered from two to five migraine attacks per month and were given 600 mg magnesium a day (well-absorbed form of magnesium).

After three months, the group that was taken magnesium on a daily basis had significantly less or less severe migraine attacks.  The research team concluded that “These results have made us think that magnesium is a beneficial agent in prophylaxis of migraine without aura and might work with both vascular and neurogenic mechanisms.”  In fact, many headache/migraine clinics treat patients with…magnesium.

We’ve Started our Magnesium!

Note:  The following part of the blog has affiliate links in it – this means that a small fee is made if you purchase a product.  You do not get charged any extra!

In researching what Dr Dean recommends in regards to magnesium, this product, Mega-Mag seems to be the cat’s pyjamas and available through Amazon in several countries. I have to tell you, it doesn’t taste pleasant! However, my ‘trick’ is that I put it into gelatin capsules.

I stopped hubby short of running out to our local grocery store and picking up some magnesium.  It’s not that simple!  And it most likely wasn’t the quality or the supplement that is easily absorbed – as many are not.

Although it is admittedly early days, my sleep has improved a bit – as has my husband’s restless legs.

Please read Dr Dean’s book to gain more information on what is best to use.

How Much Magnesium Do I Take?

A very good question – with no actual easy answer for a one size fits all solution.

This article written by Dr Dean in regards to the ‘burn rate’ regarding dosage and the different stressors in your life is a great way to get a better idea as to what is most suitable for your requirements.

Magnesium deficiency is a very real and very solvable issue!  It also has arms and legs in regards to all the different aspects that you should be aware of – such as how it works together (or not) with Vitamin D and Calcium as well as it’s effects on cancer.

Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and Magnesium

One of the many things that I have learned about fibromyalgia, CFS/ME/SEID is that these are not simply ‘conditions’ – they are a multitude of co-existing conditions and symptoms.  (Over 200 in fact).

And I for one believe that there has to be a root cause.  Perhaps magnesium deficiency is the complete root cause, but a piece of the huge jigsaw puzzles that are fibromyalgia and CFS/ME.

Rub It In or Bathe In It!

Some experts believe that the best way to use magnesium is transdermal (via the skin).  I also use magnesium this way  – as it is absorbed quickly and doesn’t upset my stomach.  (BTW, if you have had experiences of getting the runs from magnesium it is simply because it’s not the right kind – many are simply not absorbed by our bodies!(Yet they are still for sale…go figure!).  It is the wrong kind of magnesium basically not being absorbed by your body that causes this issue!)

For me, I have hubby rub magnesium oil into my sore spots on my back and neck (Zechstein is considered to be the best). It also helps sleep (and headaches, as listed above!).

Also, having a lovely hot magnesium bath soak can not only help reduce aches and pains, but also help relax you.  In fact, I usually throw in a few drops of  my favourite essential oil that is made from lavender, marjoram, patchouli, mandarin, geranium & chamomile and smells DIVINE! For me, taking mag orally and through the skin, seems to be the best option for me!

No.  I’m not a doctor or a clinical researcher.  I am simply a patient.  A patient believing that there really are answers – and help. Help that I am not getting from my doctor and consultants. (Ever get the impression you know more about your illness than they do???!)

For a fact sheet on magnesium from the National Institutes of Health go here.

I know for a fact that many of us with fibromyalgia and CFS/ME/SEID  have issues in regards to things like Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Vitamin K (Iron), so there’s no doubt in my mind (particularly with the lack of proper testing) that magnesium deficiency also plays a huge role in our health and wellbeing.  Imagine if taking a good magnesium supplement and it improves our lives just a little bit?  Or a lot?!  Thing is we don’t know until we try…so, count me in!

So, magnesium might not be the overall root cause of fibromyalgia, CFS/ME.  However, considering the evidence regarding the number of people having magnesium deficiency – and the symptoms of pain, headaches and migraines, heart palpitations, IBS and more – many of which go part and parcel with our conditions, we certainly can take easy steps to help alleviate them by using magnesium. It’s not expensive.  It’s natural.  And, well, it can certainly help to make a difference! Bottom line is, you aren’t going to know until you try it, right?! 🙂


  1. Author

    I had no idea how important – and indeed critical – magnesium is. Please share.

  2. I take Ritalin during the day because I have ADD. I didn’t know it could interfere with my magnesium absorption. Maybe that’s why the topical stuff works so well. My body seems to soak it up like a sponge and the sore spots I apply it to feel better almost immediately.

  3. There was (is?) a clinic in New York, where if you have a headache or migraine, you pop in, they jab you with magnesium, you walk out. It’s pretty much considered as normal a cure as having a drink to abate thirst, or eating to abate hunger!
    Personally, it helped me stop getting painful heart cramping
    Good subject

  4. Pingback: Magnesium: Is Deficiency The Root Cause of Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME & More? – The York ME Community

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