If you take calcium supplements, there is a good chance that you are not helping enough your bone strength like you think you are.
Believe it or not you may even have calcium overload. In addition to calcium there’s another supplement that you must include in your diet, and that’s magnesium.
Magnesium is one of the most important mineral in building strong bones and preventing bone loss.
Magnesium not only makes bones stronger, it makes them more flexible and less prone to breaking. There are many other health benefits of magnesium that you may never hear about of before, as:
- Relaxing tense muscles
- Preventing diabetes and kidney stones
- Easing high blood pressure
And these are just a few! [more about them below]
What Is Magnesium And How It Works?
Magnesium is a calcium regulator and helps to direct calcium into the bones. For strong bones, calcium has to be deposited into the bones, and not just excreted out again, or deposited into the body’s soft tissues.
When it gets deposited into soft tissues like muscles and joints, this creates calcification, causing pain.
Calcium deposited into arteries is another big problem. This is the main cause of arterial plaque, not cholesterol, as is commonly believed.
So what’s the deal?
Low magnesium levels can actually cause calcium deficiency, no matter how much calcium you take because some of the calcium goes to the wrongs places.
That being said, low magnesium levels can cause arthritis and osteoporosis, even when you supplement with plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
Taking too much calcium, especially if you don’t get the right co-factors like magnesium, and vitamins D and K2, leads to poor absorption and calcium loss.
These co-factors work together with calcium to keep it out of your arteries, muscles and joints and into your bones, where it belongs.
What’s The recommended Dosage?
You only need 400-600 milligrams of supplemental calcium a day, since your diet already provides about 800 milligrams of this mineral, mostly through dairy products.
Calcium and magnesium have to be in a proper balance ratio to maintain normal muscle tone and prevent muscle spasms.
This would be at about a 1 to 2 ratio. If you supplement with 500 mg of magnesium (as you should!), you need to get 1000 mg of calcium, with diet or supplements.
Funny how we are never told that we need magnesium to go with all that calcium in our dairy products.
Focus on getting enough magnesium – it’s that important.
Magnesium is one of the four electrolyte minerals that must remain at a constant level in your blood in order for you to function. The other three are calcium, potassium and sodium.
These minerals must always remain constant.
That means that your body will pull what it needs out of your bones and muscles to keep the blood levels stable. These four minerals provide you with a regular heart beat, and normal muscle and nerve functions, keeping you alive and stable.
Magnesium is the most important of these four and, in fact, it regulates the levels of the other three minerals.
It’s well known that most of us are magnesium deficient – very deficient. The fact is, 80% to 95% of us are deficient in magnesium. Studies show that we actually need 3X – that’s three times – the RDA of 400 mg of magnesium every day.
We should be eating more green leafy vegetables and nuts, and less dairy.
People in countries who consume lots of dairy, such as the USA, the UK, and the Scandinavian countries, have higher mortality rates than those who consume very little dairy, such as Portugal and Japan.
Too much calcium is known to cause constipation and can block the body’s absorption of other nutrients. Our high intakes of fat and calcium in our average American diet interferes with our absorption of magnesium.
More cheese anyone?
Things that deplete magnesium are:
- too much protein and fats
- too much dairy and calcium
- too much vitamin D without the co-factors:
almonds, chocolate, spinach, tea, white flour and sugar.
Oops, looks like all the fun foods can work against you.
Look at the bright side.
Foods high in magnesium are:
- black-eyed peas
- blackstrap molasses
- brown rice
- red pepper
- green leafy veggies
- lima beans
- whole grains
Alcohol really increases the body’s need for magnesium.
So does taking:
- certain psychotropic drugs (especially those high in fluoride)
- drinking fluoride in your water
- too much zinc
- any type of stress.
Stress has teeth.
Stress uses up our available magnesium making our stress worse in a kind of vicious cycle, by creating a further demand for it.
The body then has to cope in other ways, such as by increasing blood pressure and increasing cortisol, the stress hormone.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Magnesium Supplement?
Magnesium has a profoundly calming effect on nerves and nervous excitability. It has a well known depressant effect on the central nervous system, just as effective as a mild calming medication, without the side effects.
It works by counter balancing the body’s “fight or flight” mode and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the body’s “rest and digest” mode.
It promotes calm, rest, and sleep.
Magnesium is so important to the brain that it stores twice as much magnesium as the other body tissues, as a reserve supply in case magnesium levels drop.
Magnesium is an effective treatment for those with ADHD. This is a far better option for children than medications, since magnesium is non-toxic and natural with almost no side effects.
Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxer. It is the mineral that allows contracted muscles to relax.
Calcium is the muscle contractor, and it is more often at overload levels.
When calcium is up and magnesium is down, muscles can’t relax and the body never fully comes out of “fight or flight” mode.
Sleep is difficult.
Tension builds quickly and concentration and focus are easily broken. Low magnesium affects your mind and your mood by lowering levels of serotonin, causing irritation, depression and insomnia.
It’s been shown that tension headaches, aggressive behavior, PMS, insomnia, chronic muscle tension, twitching eyelids, restless legs, leg cramps, even migraines and seizures, can all be relieved and even prevented with magnesium.
Magnesium lowers blood pressure. Since magnesium creates muscle relaxation, it lowers the pressure inside your blood vessels and reduces your risk of heart disease.
Low levels of magnesium are typical in cases of high blood pressure, because most of us are so deficient.
Calcium blocking drugs are usually used for correcting irregular heart beat and high blood pressure. However, magnesium is a natural calcium blocker.
Even though it is cheap and has few side effects, it has been disregarded in favor of prescription drugs. [American Journal Medicine 96: 63-76, 1994]
More magnesium may be all someone needs instead of prescription blood pressure medication.
Researchers studied the diets of 40,000 nurses and 30,000 male health professionals, and found lower blood pressures in people who ate more magnesium.
Magnesium decreases pain in general, overall, by lowering inflammation, calming nerves, increasing serotonin levels and helping to detox the body.
Magnesium has been called the “The Forgotten Mineral” and the “5-Cent Miracle Tablet” by medical researchers.
How great is that?
Did you know that magnesium prevents kidney stones? Excessive calcium is the basis of kidney stones, and magnesium prevents their formation.
Numerous researchers have reported that higher levels of magnesium in the population at large would greatly diminish the incidence of kidney stones (1 in every 11 Americans).
Men should be rejoicing at this, since men suffer the most when passing a kidney stone. Guys, it’s worth eating your greens and avocados! Listen to your gals.
Magnesium also treats and prevents migraine headaches, often better than prescription drugs. Magnesium can also treat post traumatic head injury related headaches.
Magnesium can often resolve stubborn, persistent headache problems, reducing or eliminating the need for medication. Magnesium makes muscles softer, more flexible, and less prone to feel pain.
Magnesium prevents type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.
A report by researchers at Stockholm`s Karolinska Institutet, says that for every 100 milligram increase in magnesium, the risk of developing type-2 diabetes decreased by 15 per cent.
Seven different studies looking found a link between magnesium intake and the risk of type-2 diabetes, by way of insulin sensitivity levels.
Magnesium plays a big role in cellular energy production. It acts as a treatment for people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and also fibromyalgia, which is thought to actually be a low energy condition.
Are You Still Not Convinced That You Need More Magnesium?
Consider the fact that magnesium often works better than drugs for serious conditions.
Magnesium treats irregular heart beat better than drugs.
It can save the lives of post heart attack victims from something called “sudden death heart attack” that usually occurs within one hour of a heart attack.
Calcium blocking drugs are usually used for correcting irregular heart beat, even though magnesium is a cheaper and natural calcium blocker, with few side effects.
In the 1990s a report showed that intravenous magnesium drastically reduced death rates following a heart attack. This threatened the sale of calcium blocking drugs used for the same purpose.
Medical “researchers” paid by a big pharmaceutical company that makes calcium blocker drugs, deliberately sabotaged a magnesium study to prove that magnesium was of no value during the post-heart attack period. [Townsend Letter for Doctors, October 1998]
As a result, calcium blockers are as popular as ever(Procardia, Cardizem, Norvasc, Verpamil, Adalat, Dilacor, Verelan, Calan), even though magnesium works just as well with fewer side effects.
Pregnant women have an increased need for magnesium, and it saves lives better than drugs.
Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are the main causes of death during pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is high blood pressure which can lead to eclampsia, life threatening seizures.
Estrogen and progesterone levels, which increase during pregnancy, increase the need for magnesium. [Journal American College of Nutrition 12: 442-58, 1993] A simple magnesium sulfate IV drip could have saved the lives of up to 4 million women.
Since 1905, ineffective drugs (Valium, Dilantin) rather than magnesium have been used to treat eclampsia, despite the fact that doctors have known since 1906 that magnesium is a superior treatment.
Since 1987, drug therapy for eclampsia now includes calcium blocking drugs and blood pressure lowering drugs.
During the period 1905 to 1987 an estimated 42 million women may have undergone eclamptic convulsion and possibly 4 million died.
So What Kind Of Magnesium Supplements Are Available On The Market?
Magnesium always comes bound to another substance – there is no form of pure magnesium that we can take.
You will find products that have 2 names, like:
- magnesium chloride, or
- magnesium sulfate
The different forms of magnesium have slightly different effects and absorption rates.
The only side effect of too much magnesium is loose stool. (For people who are constipated, this is actually more of a benefit.)
Here are a few.
Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. It usually comes in tablets or capsules from a health food store.
Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, and is very cheap and available in most drug stores. However, this is one of the worst forms of it, as your body will only absorb 15%-20%. It comes in tablets or capsules.
Magnesium hydroxide, also known as milk of magnesia, is usually used as a laxative because it is an effective stool softener. It’s easy to get large doses of magnesium this way, so use as directed. Comes in a liquid, found at most drugstores.
Magnesium carbonate, is usually used as an antacid, in liquid or chewable tablets. Found at drugstores.
Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind. Comes in tablets or capsules at health food stores.
Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties. There is a refreshing fizzy drink made with the powdered version, or it can be taken by capsules or tablets.
Magnesium citrate is available as a drink ready mixed at most drug stores, for laxative uses. Use as directed. The other versions are available at health food stores.
Magnesium threonate is a newer, and rather expensive magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane and boost energy, without any laxative effects. Some consider it to be the best magnesium supplement on the market. Available at better health food stores or online.
Magnesium sulfate, better known as Epsom Salt, is not really salt but a type of magnesium and sulphur, used most often as a bathtub soak for aches and pains. It can also be taken orally as a laxative, but I like it best in the tub. It soaks into muscles, relaxes and detoxes them and helps with sleep.
Magnesium chloride, known as “magnesium oil,” is not really an oil even though it feels like an oily liquid. It is an externally applied solution that has a high absorption rate and avoids the problems with the laxative effect.
This may be a superior way to get magnesium for some, as it’s applied in small amounts to the skin, and it’s well absorbed. It’s economical, as only small amounts at a time are needed. Available at better health food stores and online.
There you have it!
You can up your magnesium in any one of the myriad of ways that are available.
Even if you don’t have a condition that magnesium treats, just by getting more if it you will feel more relaxed, sleep deeper, have more energy and feel better in general.
Life is short – feel better!