This bone-building nutrient boosts calcium absorption, which is why it’s commonly seen in calcium supplements at the traditional 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.
“Approximately 50 percent of all the magnesium in the body is found in the bones," says Marci Clow, R.D., senior director of product research for Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems, based in Santa Cruz, Calif. “Surprisingly, there is very little research aimed at determining the optimal ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet."
Researchers have found that feeding rats a magnesium-deficient diet led to bone-density loss.1 And some say that the hidden cause of calcium deficiency is that the available calcium is not being taken up by the body because of a lack of magnesium.
This essential mineral is found in dark green vegetables, seeds, beans, nuts, and whole grains. The bone-housed magnesium is combined with calcium and phosphorus. The rest is stored inside the cells of tissues and organs.
What’s also known about magnesium is that it is vital for energy production, for regulating blood-sugar levels, muscle and nerve impulses. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Center found that inadequate magnesium levels is associated with a need for increased oxygen during exercise. In a human study with 10 postmenopausal women, they found that during moderate activity, those with low magnesium levels in muscle are likely to use more energy – and therefore to tire more quickly – than those with adequate magnesium levels.2
In diabetics, British researchers in February 2010 found that low magnesium levels are 10 times more common with people newly diagnosed with diabetes, and 8.6 times more common among those with known diabetes, and 6.7 times more common among those taking anti-hypertensive medications.3
Researchers have also shown interest in the effect of magnesium and calcium on coronary heart disease (CHD). Brigham Young University researchers published a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners that found "a possible association between a modestly lower risk of CHD in men and increased magnesium intake; therefore, it is reasonable to encourage diets high in magnesium as a potential means to lower the risk of CHD.”4
As an aside, for her doctoral dissertation at Baltimore's John's Hopkins University, Virginia Worthington, Ph.D., reviewed 41 studies comparing the levels of 35 vitamins and minerals in organically and conventionally grown produce. Organics rated higher in most nutrients measured and, as a bonus, contained 15 percent less of potentially harmful nitrates from nitrogen fertilizers. The greatest nutritional differences were found in magnesium (organics had 29 percent more), vitamin C (27 percent more), and iron (21 percent more).
Finally, magnesium is known to increase serotonin production, and people have interpreted that as suggesting that magnesium could make dreams more vivid. Are they dreaming? Take some and find out!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this forum is a public service of WellWise.org, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute personal medical advice.