Calcium and magnesium are good for bone health. These two minerals are also important for everyday essential bodily functions. The way your body uses them means the minerals have to work in tandem to be fully effective. Find out why magnesium is good for your bones, how it affects calcium, and how these nutrients work together. You can make sure you’re getting enough of these minerals, whether through food or supplements. Here’s everything you need to know.
Table of Contents:
- What is Magnesium Good For?
- What is Calcium Good For?
- Why Magnesium & Calcium are a Good Combination
- How Does The Body Absorb Calcium & Magnesium?
- Factors that Affect Mineral Absorption
- What Foods Can Increase Your Intake?
- Types of Supplements: Everything You Need to Know
- Causes of Magnesium or Calcium Deficiency
- Possible Side Effects of Magnesium and Calcium Supplements
- Recap: What is Magnesium Good for?
What is Magnesium Good for?
Magnesium is good for helping the formation of bones and maintaining strength. Magnesium is good for enabling the small mineral crystals that comprise part of your bone structure to increase in density and gain strength. Magnesium is good for allowing your bones to efficiently absorb calcium. Magnesium supplements can support the strength and amount of calcium in your bones.
Aside from strengthening your skeleton, what is magnesium good for? Bone supplements may contain the mineral to help support healthy bones. The benefits to this are seen in the calcium section. Other benefits of magnesium and what taking magnesium supplements can help to do include:
- Establishing an energy-yielding metabolism
- Healthy muscle function
- Electrolyte balance
- Routine functioning of the nervous system
- Traditional protein synthesis
Not getting enough could lead to magnesium deficiency, which can cause poor sleep and heart palpitations. Supplementing with magnesium is good for helping you avoid these problems and get a good night’s rest.
What is Calcium Good for?
Of all the essential minerals found in your body, calcium is the most abundant. Nearly all of your calcium is stored in your bones and teeth.
Calcium, like magnesium is good for bone health. It enables bones to develop and grow, keeping them strong and dense up to the age of around 25. After 25 your bones begin to lose density as part of the ageing process. Calcium helps slow this decline.
Calcium is one of the minerals to take with magnesium for them to work together to do its job. As well as bone health, what is calcium good for? Calcium also contributes to establishing:
- Muscle function
- Blood clotting
- Neurotransmission (nerve cells passing signals to each other)
- Digestive enzyme function
Why Magnesium & Calcium Are A Good Combination
What is magnesium good for? It helps to stop toxic calcium absorption in the body. Your body doesn’t rely on magnesium to absorb calcium. But without it, calcium can become toxic, depositing itself in soft tissues, kidneys, arteries and cartilage rather than in bones where it has the greatest benefit. This can lead to some quite severe health conditions. Balancing calcium with the right amount of magnesium is good for potentially stopping harmful issues from occurring.
Magnesium is Good for Maintaining a Balance of Hormones
What is magnesium good for? Working with calcium to regulate hormones and ensuring bone health. Having too much calcium in your blood stimulates your body into releasing a hormone called calcitonin. It also prevents your body from secreting the parathyroid hormone (PTH). Here’s what each of these hormones do:
- Calcitonin—causes your bones to absorb more calcium, but limits how much goes into your soft tissues.
- PTH—draws calcium out of the bones and deposits it in the soft tissues.
Your body needs to be able to regulate the balance of these hormones, and that is what magnesium is good for. Sufficient amounts of magnesium are good for suppressing PTH and stimulating calcitonin. This sends calcium to the bones rather than the soft tissues. Magnesium and calcium are two of the four nutrients needed for healthy bones. Calcium can also help prevent certain bone diseases from occurring. Bone diseases are more commonly seen in the older generation, however early use of magnesium is good for helping to ensure bone health throughout the lifecycle.
Magnesium is Good for Regulating the Heartbeat
What is magnesium good for? Regulating heartbeat and improving sleep. Calcium plays a part in regulating muscle contractions, while magnesium is good for relaxation. Which is why magnesium is good as a sleep supplement. Together, the two minerals regulate the heartbeat. Electrical impulses provoke the calcium within the cells of the heart muscle, stimulating a contracting movement.
Magnesium is Good for Converting Vitamins for Easier Calcium Absorption
What is magnesium good for? Converting vitamins for calcium absorption. Magnesium is good for helping the cells and muscles to relax. Your body needs two other vitamins to properly absorb calcium:
- Vitamin D Supplements— magnesium is good for certain enzymes in your body which require it to convert vitamin D into its active form (known as calcitriol). Taking vitamin D supplements can help your body absorb calcium.
- Vitamin K Supplements (K1 and K2)— these aid the calcification of bones and prevent blood vessels and kidneys from calcifying. Taking vitamin K supplements can also aid calcium absorption.
How Does the Body Absorb Calcium & Magnesium?
Your body gets the magnesium and calcium it needs via the foods you eat and any supplements you take. Supplements can come in different forms, such as:
- Oral form — those you take by mouth, such as tablets.
- Transdermal form — those you apply to the skin, such as lotions and sprays.
With food and oral spray supplements, the minerals pass through parts of your body known as the gastrointestinal tract, which includes your:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
Transdermal supplements, like transdermal magnesium, are applied onto your skin. In this form, magnesium is good for bypassing primary processing by the digestive system. How effectively your body absorbs and retains a mineral is dictated by that mineral’s “bioavailability”. This is the rate at which the mineral enters circulation. Factors that can affect bioavailability are:
- How much of it you take in overall, through food and supplements.
- The health of your gastrointestinal tract.
- Your everyday diet
Magnesium’s bioavailability varies from supplement to supplement. Supplements that dissolve well in water or other liquids tend to be more completely absorbed than less soluble forms.
Some studies have found that magnesium chloride is more bioavailable than its oxide and sulfate forms. Since your body can process the mineral’s chloride form more effectively, BetterYou uses it as a source for their supplements.
Calcium absorption varies but on average is around 30% of overall intake. This is why the recommended advice is often to take smaller doses of calcium several times a day rather than one single large dose. On the other hand, magnesium is good for taking in one dose per day.
Factors that Affect Mineral Absorption
Your regular weekly diet might affect how well your body absorbs minerals. Magnesium is good for being available in lots of different types of foods. The following food recommendations are what you should look to reduce. Always talk to a healthcare professional before cutting a food group out of your diet.
The food and drinks which may be affecting your mineral intake includes:
- Red meat
- Processed fats
- Refined sugars
- Soft drinks
- Foods high in oxalic acid (such as spinach, rhubarb and chocolate)
Other factors which may affect how well your body can absorb magnesium and calcium include:
- Digestive problems - Any problems in this area may also affect how well your body can absorb certain nutrients. If you have low levels of gastric acid or suffer from digestive complaints, such as IBS, your body may not be able to fully absorb magnesium or calcium.
- Ageing - As you get older, your body releases calcium through sweat, skin cells and waste. For this reason, calcium absorption can vary depending on how old you are.
What Foods Can Increase Your Intake?
A diet rich in both calcium and magnesium is good for a range of health benefits. Magnesium is good for being available in lots of different types of foods. You can naturally help to improve your intake of magnesium and calcium by eating foods that are rich in these minerals.
Magnesium is good for being highly available in these food sources:
- Brown rice
- Dark green vegetables (e.g. spinach)
- Legumes (e.g. lentils, split peas, tofu)
- Beans (e.g. black, kidney, edamame)
- Nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, brazil nuts)
- Seeds (e.g. sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)
- Wholegrain cereals
The following foods and drinks are rich sources of calcium:
- Milk (including soy milk)
- Nuts (e.g. pistachio, almonds, hazelnuts)
- Sesame seeds
- Spinach and kale
- Many fortified breakfast cereals
For maximum absorption, you should take calcium supplements with food.
Types of Supplements: Everything You Need to Know
What Magnesium & Calcium Supplements to Take
Magnesium is good for coming in a wide range of supplement forms, as is calcium. From pills, capsules and tablets, to oral sprays. That is not the extent of supplements. There are also many types of transdermal supplements too which means taking magnesium is good for all ages. Intake of topical minerals means you do not have to ingest them. You can try magnesium bath flakes for easy, pill-free supplementation.
If you choose to take an oral supplement, try to avoid supplements in carbonate forms, as these are the hardest for your body to process. Instead, look for magnesium chloride or citrates (magnesium citrate or calcium citrate).
Magnesium is good for taking alongside calcium supplements to aid your body in properly metabolizing the calcium.
What is Transdermal Magnesium Good for?
Rather than taking supplements as tablets or capsules, transdermal magnesium is good for direct application to your skin. These forms include:
Applied to the skin, this unique way of supplementing this essential mineral provides an effective alternative to traditional tablets or capsules that can be tough on the digestive system. This means you can help avoid the risk of digestive problems.
In transdermal form, magnesium is good for applying whenever you like. Many people like to take them a short time before bed, to aid sleep. What is magnesium good for? Aiding sleep by helping your muscles to relax. If you have trouble sleeping, or wake frequently during the night, it could be the sign of magnesium deficiency, calcium deficiency, or both. The two minerals are natural aids that can help you fall asleep and have a restful sleep.
What Magnesium & Calcium Dosages to Take
It is important to take the correct amounts of magnesium and calcium because they work so closely together. A rule of thumb often used is a ratio of one part calcium to one part magnesium. If you take 500mg of calcium you should also take 500mg of magnesium. Most supplements of calcium and magnesium are good at following this ratio.
- The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 300mg for men (aged 19–64) and 270mg for women (aged 19–64 years).
- With calcium, it’s at least 700mg per day for adults. Women aged 51 and older, and men over the age of 70, are advised to increase their daily intake to 1,200mg.
As magnesium competes with calcium at doses higher than 250mg, if your calcium levels are already low it might cause you to develop a calcium deficiency. Generally, taking both minerals in their daily recommended amounts is completely fine.
Whatever supplements you choose to take, always follow the recommended dosage for magnesium and calcium on the packaging. Always seek advice from your medical professional before supplementing.
As oral supplements, magnesium is good for taking with a meal to reduce the risk of you suffering an upset stomach or diarrhoea. If you’re taking them to help you get to sleep at night, do so around 20 to 30 minutes before you go to bed. Always follow guidance on how to take magnesium supplements. With oral calcium supplements, because your body can’t fully absorb more than around 500mg of calcium at a time, the recommended advice is to divide your doses and take them at different times of the day.
Causes of Magnesium or Calcium Deficiency
Your body tends to retain calcium and either store it or reuse it. However, with magnesium it typically uses up all its stores. This means you must replenish it every day. It is for this reason why you’re more likely to develop a deficiency in magnesium rather than calcium. A deficiency or having low levels of magnesium are officially referred to as hypomagnesemia. Checking frequently to see if your level of nutrients is good, for example using health test kits, can help to reduce your chances of deficiencies.
As your body gets most of its nutrients from the food you eat, the most common cause of any deficiency is diet. Consuming certain types of food and drink hinders your body’s ability to process minerals and affects their bioavailability. For magnesium, eating the right mineral-rich foods can help you sleep. Another factor is over farming. The intensive nature of today’s agriculture means the soil in which fruit and vegetables are grown is less rich in nutrients.
The following are known as possible causes of hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency):
- Coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease and some other digestive diseases
- Lack of parathyroid hormone (PTH)
- Consuming too much magnesium
- Kidney failure
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Phosphate deficiency
- Prolonged use of some medicines, such as chemotherapy or corticosteroids
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you might become deficient in calcium if you don’t eat enough calcium-rich or calcium-fortified foods. Vegan supplements and vegetarian supplements can help to replenish those missing nutrients. If you’re lactose intolerant, you must eat plenty of non-dairy foods that are rich in calcium to avoid developing a deficiency.
Possible Side Effects of Magnesium and Calcium Supplements
Magnesium is good for not having too many side effects. The same applies to calcium. With intraoral sprays, you might suffer a laxative effect if you take too much. Supplementing with food helps lessen these effects. Alternatively, you can take these minerals transdermally. Transdermal magnesium is good for being fast and effective as an alternative to tablets. You also don’t have to take them with food or drink.
With calcium, you might feel bloated or constipated or suffer with wind. Again, to avoid this, take your supplements with a meal and spread them throughout the day. Calcium citrate usually has fewer or less intense side effects than calcium carbonate.
Recap: What is Magnesium Good for?
Magnesium is good for working together with calcium in the body, and managing both of their levels can encourage a healthy lifestyle. Let’s recap what magnesium is good for. Magnesium is good for:
- Stopping toxic calcium absorption
- Hormone balance
- Bone health
- Regulating heartbeat
- Better calcium absorption
Supplementing with BetterYou
At BetterYou, we specialise in natural health and easy supplementation. With pill-free vitamins and supplements, you can support your body in getting the correct dosage of vital nutrients. With vitamin B supplements to support a healthy immune system, iron supplements for energy, and health test kits to check your levels, BetterYou can help support a healthy lifestyle.