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Magnesium Deficiency & Sweat

By Lynne Sheldon

Magnesium is essential for your health and bodily functions, and it is rare for someone to be genuinely deficient in this mineral. However, excessive sweating, as well as certain medical conditions, can lower the amount of magnesium in your body and result in a deficiency and its accompanying symptoms. If you sweat profusely or believe you may be deficient in magnesium, discuss your concerns with a licensed health care provider.

Sweating and Other Risks of a Deficiency

Sweating occurs when your eccrine sweat glands release a salt solution to cool your body. While this is imperative for temperature regulation, excessive sweating can deplete your magnesium stores, a condition reflected by low levels of this mineral in your blood. Other factors that can lead to a magnesium deficiency include heavy menstrual periods and being overly stressed, as well as consuming large amounts of alcohol, salt, soda or coffee. Medical conditions that affect the bowels, as well as diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease can cause a magnesium deficiency as well.

Symptoms of a Deficiency

If you sweat to the point that you develop a magnesium deficiency, you may experience a variety of symptoms. These include feelings of anxiety and irritability, difficulty sleeping, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle weakness, spasms and hyperventilation. Should your deficiency go untreated and become severe, you may then experience continuous muscle contractions, delirium, hallucinations and a feeling of numbness or tingling. Seek medical attention if you experience these or other symptoms.

RDA and Sources

You can help prevent a magnesium deficiency by making sure that you meet the RDA through your diet. Men need 420 milligrams of magnesium daily, while women require 320 milligrams. If you are an athlete or sweat a lot, your magnesium needs may be higher, and your doctor can help you determine how much you should be getting. Good food sources include oat flour, spinach, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and tofu. You can also take a mineral supplement, if your doctor deems this necessary.

Controlling Your Sweat

There are things you can do to help control excessive sweating and thereby prevent losing too much magnesium. Excluding caffeinated foods and beverages such as coffee, soda and chocolate from your diet may decrease the amount you sweat. During warmer weather, exercise during the cooler hours of the day -- such as early morning or the evening -- or work out indoors to minimize sweating from the heat.

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