We have often seen and/or experienced annoying involuntary muscle twitches in the corners of the eyes, in calf muscles etc. But I have wondered about their causes.

WebMD states that

[e]yelid twitches may be aggravated by having dry eyes. They may also be worsened by stress, lack of sleep, caffeine, and harsh light conditions.

Apart from (excess?) caffeine, can a lack of (or excess of) certain nutrition (sugar for example) be a cause of muscle twitches?

Note: Leg jiggling (for want of a better term) which can occur with nervousness, sugar rush or extreme excitement is not what I'm talking about.

  • I don't think it's "food", that is probably too general. On a molecular level, Mg2+ is known to play a vital role in muscle health and energy, and AFAIK for cramps it is recommended to take Mg2+ supplements. Other causes could be a disturbance in the Neuromuscular junction, i.e. too little Ca2+, or antagonists of nAChR etc.
    – Narusan
    May 22, 2020 at 8:27
  • @Narusan I have removed the "food" criteria as it could be seen as broad, as you say. Although, nutrients required would normally come from diet wouldn't they? May 22, 2020 at 8:55
  • I thought this article was interesting because it mentioned B12 status livestrong.com/article/…
    – Gordon
    May 22, 2020 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


Muscle twitches (fasciculations) caused by malnutrition are usually (not always) associated with muscle cramps.

Malnutrition-related causes of twitches include severely insufficient nutrient intake (fasting, anorexia nervosa...) or malabsorption (Crohn or celiac disease...):

Prolonged exercise or certain sitting or sleeping positions, tiredness, hypothermia, certain drugs (diuretics...) and other triggers mentioned in the question can aggravate malnutrition-related twitching.

In conclusion, dehydration and, maybe, hypoglycemia seem to be the most common causes of "food- related" twitching. Eating disorders and unbalanced vegans diets may also be risk factors.


Apparently twitching can indeed be caused by low sugar (hypoglycemia), but this is more in line with having diabetes than being malnourished. See "Symptoms of moderate low blood sugar" in https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/aa20831

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