Calcium and magnesium are two particularly important minerals that are often lacking in our diet. Both are vital for healthy bone development and growth, keeping bones strong and dense.
The role of calcium
Of all the essential minerals found in your body, calcium is the most abundant, and nearly all of it is stored in your bones and teeth. Like magnesium, calcium is vital to bone health. It enables bones to develop and grow, keeping them strong and dense up to the age of around 25, when they begin to lose density as part of the ageing process. Calcium can help to slow this decline.
Calcium also contributes to normal:
- muscle function
- blood clotting
- neurotransmission (nerve cells passing signals to each other)
- digestive enzyme function
The role of magnesium
The role of magnesium is to help bones form and remain strong. Magnesium enables the small mineral crystals that form part of your bone structure to gain strength and become denser.
Magnesium contributes to:
- normal energy-yielding metabolism
- normal muscle function
- electrolyte balance
- normal functioning of the nervous system
- normal protein synthesis
It also allows your bones to absorb calcium more readily, which has several benefits.
Why does calcium need magnesium to be effective?
You do not require magnesium to absorb calcium. However, without it, calcium may become toxic by depositing itself in soft tissues, kidneys, arteries, and cartilage rather than in the bones where it is needed and has the greatest benefit. This can result in some severe health conditions. By balancing calcium with the right amount of magnesium, you can stop these potentially harmful issues occurring.
Magnesium helps maintain a balance of hormones
Having too much calcium in your blood stimulates your body into releasing a hormone called calcitonin, while preventing it from secreting the parathyroid hormone (PTH).
- 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 it can do that with the help of magnesium. Research has shown that getting sufficient magnesium will help to suppress PTH and stimulate calcitonin, sending calcium to the bones rather than the soft tissues and preventing certain bone diseases.
Magnesium helps enzymes convert vitamins to facilitate calcium absorption
Your body needs two vitamins to properly absorb calcium:
- Vitamin D – certain enzymes in your body require magnesium to be able to convert vitamin D into its active form (known as calcitriol)
- Vitamin K2 – promotes the calcification of bones and prevent blood vessels and kidneys from calcifying
The adequate balance of magnesium and vitamin D is essential for maintaining the physiologic functions of various organs. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate balance to maintain healthy bone functions. For more information, check out this research on the role of Magnesium in Vitamin D.
We recommend taking a supplement that not only provides the essential calcium and magnesium but also contains vitamins D3 and K2 for optimal absorption.
Factors that affect mineral absorption
Consuming certain foods and drinks
If you eat/drink the following, it might affect how well your body absorbs minerals:
- Too much red meat
- Too much salt
- Processed fats
- Refined sugars
- Soft drinks
- Foods high in oxalic acid (such as spinach, rhubarb and chocolate)
Digestive problems, ageing and an inadequate diet can all affect calcium absorption
If you have low levels of gastric acid or suffer with digestive complaints, your body may not be able to fully absorb magnesium or calcium. For maximum absorption, you should take calcium supplements with food. As you get older, your body releases calcium through sweat, skin cells and waste. Because of this, calcium absorption can vary depending on how old you are.
What foods to eat to naturally boost your calcium and magnesium levels
Choosing a diet rich in both magnesium and calcium can help to improve your overall health and well-being.
Food sources that contain high levels of magnesium include:
- 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
By choosing to take a high quality supplement, such as our vegan-friendly Calcium & Magnesium Plus K2 & D3, you can be confident of achieving a healthy level of these vital vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Our tasty dissolvable powder has a natural lemon lime flavour so it is easy to drink in a glass of water, removing the need to swallow another handful of tablets or capsules every day.