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3 Reasons Why Magnesium Deficiency is Behind Your Sweet Cravings


Magnesium is a crucial mineral, playing a pivotal role in numerous physiological functions and is essential for maintaining optimal health. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to a myriad of health issues, including an increased craving for sweets. This article will delve into three key reasons why a lack of magnesium might be the hidden culprit behind your sweet cravings, focusing on its role in regulating glucose and insulin levels, its impact on serotonin production, and its influence on stress and cortisol levels.

1. Magnesium Regulates Glucose and Insulin Levels

Magnesium is integral to the body's glucose metabolism, serving as a cofactor for enzymes involved in the process. When magnesium is deficient, it can lead to impaired glucose utilisation and increased blood sugar levels, causing the body to crave sweets. Magnesium is also pivotal in maintaining insulin sensitivity. Research by Simental-Mendía et al. (2016) highlighted the importance of magnesium in enhancing insulin sensitivity and controlling glucose levels.

When the regulation of glucose and insulin is impaired due to magnesium deficiency, it can subsequently increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. To combat this, it’s essential to incorporate magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains into one’s diet. However, addressing magnesium deficiency requires a delicate balance, as excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects.

2. Role of Magnesium in Serotonin Production

Magnesium plays a vital role in the synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and cravings. A deficiency in magnesium can result in reduced serotonin levels, impacting mood and leading to an increased desire for sweets as a form of self-medication. The connection between magnesium and depression was elucidated in a study by Serefko et al. (2013), demonstrating that maintaining adequate magnesium levels is essential for mental well-being and preventing mood disturbances and cravings.

Including magnesium-rich foods such as bananas, avocados, and dark chocolate in the diet can aid in maintaining serotonin levels and improving overall mood and well-being. However, maintaining balanced serotonin levels is multifaceted and requires a holistic approach, including managing stress and maintaining a balanced diet, to prevent the impact of magnesium deficiency on mood and cravings.

3. Magnesium’s Impact on Stress and Cortisol Levels

Magnesium significantly influences the body’s response to stress. It acts as a natural relaxant and is crucial for managing stress and cortisol levels effectively. Research by Wienecke and Nolden (2016) revealed that magnesium intake could reduce stress and cortisol levels, which are often linked to cravings for high-sugar foods. Magnesium’s role in improving sleep quality and aiding recovery is also essential for managing stress levels and reducing cravings.

Incorporating magnesium-rich foods like almonds, spinach, and legumes in the diet can assist in managing stress and reducing cortisol levels effectively. However, managing stress involves addressing various lifestyle, diet, and mental health factors. Incorporating sustainable changes is essential to address the root causes of stress and help in managing cortisol levels effectively.

Further Exploration on Magnesium and Glucose Metabolism

Understanding the intricate relationship between magnesium and glucose metabolism is paramount. Magnesium’s role in enzymatic reactions directly impacts the body's ability to process and utilise glucose efficiently. When the body cannot process glucose effectively, it can lead to a cascade of metabolic disturbances, including insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

The incorporation of magnesium-rich foods is a practical approach to mitigating the risks associated with impaired glucose metabolism. Foods such as legumes, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables are not only nutritious but also help in maintaining balanced blood glucose levels. However, it is crucial to approach magnesium supplementation with caution, considering individual health conditions and dietary restrictions to avoid potential complications.

Deep Dive into Magnesium and Serotonin Production

The synthesis of serotonin is a complex process, and magnesium is a key player in its production. Serotonin is often termed the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, and its levels in the brain can significantly impact mood and emotional well-being. When serotonin levels are low, individuals may experience mood swings, depression, and increased cravings for sweet foods as the body seeks a quick source of energy and comfort.

Addressing the underlying causes of low serotonin levels, such as magnesium deficiency, is a step towards improved mental health and well-being. Lifestyle modifications, stress management, and a balanced diet are essential components in maintaining optimal serotonin levels. It is also important to note that while dietary modifications can significantly impact serotonin levels, professional medical advice is crucial when symptoms of depression or severe mood disturbances are present.

Insights into Magnesium’s Role in Stress Management

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and managing it effectively is crucial for maintaining optimal health. Magnesium’s role in regulating neurotransmitters and hormonal responses to stress is a key factor in overall stress management. Elevated cortisol levels, a common response to stress, can lead to a range of health issues, including sleep disturbances, weight gain, and increased cravings for sugary foods.

Implementing stress-reducing activities such as regular exercise, meditation, and adequate sleep, along with a magnesium-rich diet, can contribute to balanced cortisol levels and improved stress resilience. However, addressing chronic stress may require a multifaceted approach, including psychological interventions and medical consultations, to identify and address the underlying causes of stress and implement effective coping strategies.


Magnesium and Glucose Metabolism
  • Magnesium is a crucial cofactor for enzymes involved in glucose metabolism.
  • Deficiency can lead to impaired glucose utilization and increased blood sugar levels.
  • Magnesium is essential for maintaining insulin sensitivity; deficiency can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Incorporating magnesium-rich foods and supplements can help regulate glucose and insulin levels.
  • Balancing magnesium intake is essential to avoid excessive consumption and potential adverse effects.
Magnesium and Serotonin Production
  • Magnesium is vital for the synthesis of serotonin, impacting mood, appetite, and cravings.
  • Deficiency can lead to reduced serotonin levels, causing mood disturbances and increased cravings for sweets.
  • Adequate magnesium levels are essential for mental well-being and preventing depression.
  • A balanced diet including magnesium-rich foods can help maintain serotonin levels and improve overall mood and well-being.
  • Addressing underlying causes of low serotonin levels and seeking professional advice is crucial when experiencing severe mood disturbances.
Magnesium’s Role in Stress and Cortisol Levels
  • Magnesium regulates neurotransmitters and hormonal responses to stress, impacting cortisol levels.
  • Elevated cortisol levels due to stress can lead to various health issues and increased cravings for sugary foods.
  • Stress-reducing activities, adequate sleep, and a magnesium-rich diet are essential for balanced cortisol levels and stress resilience.
  • Addressing chronic stress requires a multifaceted approach, including psychological interventions and medical consultations.

Magnesium Information

For everything you need to know about magnesium and magnesium supplements, check out our comprehensive information page here.

Magnesium Information


We’ve created a magnesium supplement with a combination of three types of highly absorbable magnesium at a therapeutic dose. Our magnesium comes as an easy to mix, great tasting powder to ensure optimal absorption. To learn more about our magnesium, check out the product page here.

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Ron Goedeke MD, BSc Hons MBChB, FNZCAM

Dr. Ron Goedeke, an expert in the domain of functional medicine, dedicates his practice to uncovering the root causes of health issues by focusing on nutrition and supplement-based healing and health optimisation strategies. An esteemed founding member of the New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine, Dr. Goedeke's professional journey has always been aligned with cutting-edge health concepts.

Having been actively involved with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine since 1999, he brings over two decades of knowledge and experience in the field of anti-aging medicine, making him an eminent figure in this evolving realm of healthcare. Throughout his career, Dr. Goedeke has been steadfast in his commitment to leverage appropriate nutritional guidance and supplementation to encourage optimal health.

This has allowed him to ascend as one of the most trusted authorities in the arena of nutritional medicine in New Zealand. His expertise in the intricate relationship between diet, nutritional supplements, and overall health forms the backbone of his treatment approach, allowing patients to benefit from a balanced and sustainable pathway to improved wellbeing.

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