Calcium Magnesium Balance and it's Importance for Health

Learn why the calcium magnesium balance is so critical, and what you can do to make sure yours is optimal.

Do you know what your calcium magnesium balance should be? Most people don't. However, if you are taking supplements of either calcium or magnesium, it's critical that you educate yourself as it can negatively impact your health if you supplement incorrectly. Relying on a traditional multi-vitamin will not cover the needs of an average adult who needs calcium and/or magnesium supplementation - it usually requires a separate supplement.

Many people, especially women in their 40's and 50's, supplement with extra calcium for bone health. Many parents also provide calcium to their children if they are finicky eaters. If you do not consume ample greens each day or at least four servings of dairy foods each day, it is important to ensure adequate calcium intake, and in those instances supplementation is appropriate. 

However, it's important to realize that certain nutrients work synergistically and sometimes antagonistically in the body - which means you cannot add more of one nutrient without affecting the status of the others. It's important to get enough magnesium as well as calcium because magnesium is critical to so many functions in the body, and it turns out that many people are deficient. If you do not have adequate magnesium, taking calcium for bone health will not work very well because your body will not be able to absorb it properly. Excess calcium can even increase risk of heart problems, so it is crucial to only supplement as needed when the diet is inadequate.

calcium magnesium balanceDiscuss supplementation needs with a professional such as a dietician, naturopathic doctor or certified nutritionist.

The suggested ratio of intake of these two vital nutrients is about 2:1 calcium to magnesium. Keep in mind, this recommendation has to include dietary sources (your food) in addition to the supplements. The timing of taking them is also important. Magnesium requires an acidic stomach environment for best absorption, so taking it between meals or at bedtime is recommended. Meals high in phosphorus or calcium (calcium and magnesium can compete), or alcohol use may decrease magnesium absorption. 

For the general population, look for a calcium/magnesium formula or supplement your caclium with extra magnesium. For specific nutrient recommendations for your particular needs, consult a registered dietician, a certified nutritionisth or a naturopathic MD.

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