July 7, 2020
Magnesium Deficiency Minimize

Magnesium deficiency

Definition of hypomagnesaemia

The reference intervals for magnesium are usually cites as 0.65-1.05 mmol/L (Tietz 1987). Liebscher & Liebscher argue that this is a range derived statistically from apparently healthy subjects and that individuals with syndromes that are asssociated with magnesium deficiency can have values as high as 0.8 mmol/L. Subjects with lower values deserve consideration of treatment.

See magnesium infusion test for treatment and diagnosis


Typical symptoms of magnesium deficiency ie < 0.5 mmol/L include: irritability, tetany, convulsions and ECG abnormalites. 

Magnesium therapy is used in for eclampsia and some cardiac rhythm disorders and magnesium deficiency is considered to be related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome.


Magnesium deficiency has been associated with:

  • Hypocalcaemia & hypokalaemia, often associated with nephrotoxic cancer chemotherapy

  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lactation
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrion
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Intravenous nutition
  • Drug therapy eg digoxin, diuretics, gentamicin, omeprazole
  • Renal tubular reabsorptopn defects


  • Belin RJ, He K. Magnesium physiology and pathogenic mechanisms that contribute to the development of the metabolic syndrome. Magnes Res 2007;20:107-29.
  • Liebscher D-H, Liebscher D-E. About the misdiagnosis of magnesium deficiency. J Am Coll Nutr 2004;23:730S-731S.
  • Ryan MF. The role of magnesium in clinical biochemistry: an overview. Ann Clin Biochem 1991;28:19-26.
  • Shabajee N, Lamb EJ, Sturgess I, Sumathipala RW. Omeprazole and refractoty hypomagnesaemia. BMJ 2008;337:173-175.

JHB 18 July 2008


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