It's easy to tell that you have enough magnesium if you have none of the symptoms on the list in my most recent blog.
If you do have one or more of those symptoms it gets tricky because there are causes other than low magnesium that can cause several of the symptoms. This is where lab tests come in handy, but lab tests themselves are tricky. The blood test, which is the one usually performed, is unreliable unless it is low. A normal blood magnesium does not necessarily mean that you are not magnesium deficient. This is because magnesium does it work inside the cell and having enough magnesium in the blood does not mean there is enough inside the cell. There is what's called a magnesium pump in the cell wall. Sometimes the pump breaks down and even with plenty of magnesium in the blood the cell is magnesium deficient and you get symptoms..
A better test is the red blood cell (RBC) magnesium test. This test gives you the average of the amount of magnesium that has been in cells in the last four months. The best test is the white blood cell (WBC) magnesium. The white blood cell, unlike the red blood cell, is a metabolically active cell. Its magnesium content lets know how much of magnesium was in the cell at the time the blood was drawn. Unfortunately, the WBC magnesium is complicated to do and most labs do not perform it. We actually get along very well with RBC magnesium plus considering these symptoms. RBC magnesium is the test I use when I need to test. Usually I don't, because I learned in the past 25 years how to recognize the symptoms and symptom patterns of magnesium deficiency.
If you have ever been magnesium deficient and correct the deficiency, you are unlikely to forget how it feels to be magnesium deficient compared with how it feels to have enough. People who have had this experience a few times usually become expert at detecting the early warning signs that their magnesium level is about to fall below a symptom threshold.
The bottom line: if you have none of the magnesium deficiency symptoms, smile and assume that you have enough magnesium. If you have one of more low magnesium symptoms decide whether you want to try increasing your magnesium intake (a therapeutic trial) or whether you wish to test first. There are labs that will do a RBC magnesium test without a doctor's order. If you can't find one, perhaps you know a physician who would order it for you. If you decide to do a therapeutic trial on magnesium or you test for it and find that you don't have enough, you need to know how to take magnesium correctly. If you don't know that, you can make your magnesium deficiency worse by taking magnesium.
In the next blog I'll tell you how to do it right.