Risk Factors for Magnesium Depletion

magnesium deficiency

Many factors can drive up an individual’s demand for magnesium. Disease, medications, stress and dietary factors can deplete magnesium, including:

  • Acetaminophen toxicity
  • Alcohol
  • Aluminium (environmental, including from antiperspirants, and dietary)
  • Aldosteronism
  • Ageing (hypochlorhydria, ie, decreased acid in the stomach).
  • Antacids (including ranitidine and famotidine)
  • Bariatric surgery (small intestinal bypass surgery)
  • Calcium supplements (or a high calcium to magnesium diet).
  • Caffeine
  • Cancer
  • Coeliac disease
  • Colon removal
  • Chronic stress (overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system)
  • Cisplatin
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ciclosporin
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes (uncontrolled glucose levels)
  • Diarrhea
  • Diet high in fat or sugar
  • Digoxin
  • Diuretics —non-potassium-sparing diuretics (thiazide and loop diuretics)
  • Excessive ingestion of poorly absorbable magnesium (such as magnesium oxide)
  • Enzymatic dysfunction (impaired magnesium distribution)
  • Estrogen therapy (shifts magnesium to soft and hard tissues lowering serum levels)
  • Excessive or prolonged lactation
  • Excessive menstruation
  • Fasting (or low magnesium intake)
  • Foscarnet
  • Gentamicin and tobramycin
  • Hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney diseases (glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, hydronephrosis, nephrosclerosis and renal tubular acidosis).
  • Heart failure
  • Haemodialysis
  • High phosphorus in the diet (soda, inorganic phosphates contained in many inactive ingredients in processed foods)
  • Hyperinsulinaemia (and insulin therapy)
  • Insulin resistance (intracellular magnesium depletion)
  • Laxatives
  • Low salt intake
  • Low selenium intake
  • Gastrointestinal disorders—malabsorption syndromes (coeliac disease, non-tropical sprue, bowel resection, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, steatorrhoea), prolonged diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Liver disease (acute or chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis).
  • Metabolic acidosis (latent or clinical)
  • Pancreatitis (acute and chronic).
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Pentamide
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Porphyria with inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone
  • Pregnancy
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Tacrolimus
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency
  • Vitamin D excess or deficiency (chronic kidney disease and liver disease can prevent the activation of vitamin D)


DiNicolantonio, j et al. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. Jan 13, 2018. Accessed at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786912/

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