According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 43 percent of Americans (including almost 70 percent of older women) take dietary supplements containing calcium. But failing to balance calcium with magnesium may actually do more harm than good.
When everything is in proper balance, magnesium helps the body to absorb and metabolize calcium. Unfortunately, American diet and supplementation practices lead to over-consumption of calcium, and soil depletion and processing of foods lead to under-consumption of magnesium. In fact, 75% of Americans don’t consume adequate amounts of magnesium and this missing mineral is one common culprit behind declining heart health.
A growing amount of scientific evidence points to high calcium/low magnesium intake leading to calcification, or hardening of arteries (also known as atherosclerosis, which can cause heart disease – the leading cause of death in the U.S.), osteoporosis and osteoporotic bone fractures. In short, magnesium helps prevent calcium buildup of cholesterol plaque in the arteries.
In addition, numerous studies have shown that magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so it can aid calcium absorption. Magnesium also stimulates the hormone calcitonin, which helps preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, lowering the likelihood of osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis, heart attack and kidney stones.
So, excess calcium intake without proper magnesium supplementation can cause problems in the body. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements reports that less than half of calcium people ingest is actually absorbed in the gut. The rest may be excreted, or it can linger in the body to form kidney stones or cause calcification (hardening) in soft tissues.
The key to calcium-magnesium balance is at the cellular level. Calcium’s effectiveness and benefits with respect to bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis are enormously impaired unless the body maintains adequate magnesium levels. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get enough magnesium through diet to even meet the minimum RDA requirements because it has been farmed out of the soil and eliminated from most processed foods.
The calcium-to-magnesium ratio commonly accepted by health professionals (and seen in many dietary supplements) is 2:1.
Calcium works to contract muscles while magnesium helps those muscles relax. When you’re deficient in magnesium, tension in the muscles of the body’s blood vessels is a consequence. The tension in turn can trigger high blood pressure.
The benefits of calcium are clear to all. But what else is magnesium good for (besides proper absorption of calcium)?
- It helps the heart function better and helps protect blood vessels.
- It is also a natural blood thinner, much like aspirin.
- Studies have proven that people with higher magnesium levels are less likely to develop diabetes and even better, supplementing with magnesium appears to help reverse pre-diabetes.
- Magnesium naturally balances the body’s cholesterol, and some studies show that magnesium supplementation can cause slight decreases in both total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and increases in HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Consider trying Dr. Newton’s CalMax Sport. It is a high quality calcium, magnesium and vitamin C powder with the 1:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium recommended by some doctors. Each serving of CalMax Sport provides:
- 300 mg of calcium
- 300 mg of magnesium
- 250 mg of vitamin C.