nutrition

What Are the Benefits of Taking Calcium and Magnesium Together?

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

5 min read

Calcium and magnesium are commonly taken vitamins. Taking them together can be beneficial for your bone health. Here’s why.

Calcium and magnesium are two vitamins that are commonly known for their role in bone health. However, they’re involved in much more than bone health. Many people want to maximize their vitamin intake by combining multiple vitamins into one supplement, such as a multivitamin. Can calcium and magnesium be taken together? How does taking them together affect their function in the body? How much of each should we take? Let’s start by talking about what calcium and magnesium do for our bodies.

Benefits of Taking Calcium and Magnesium Together

To better understand the effects of taking calcium and magnesium together, it’s important to first understand what each does on its own.

What Does Magnesium Do?

Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal which is commonly found in the human body (with over 60% of it being found in our bones). Magnesium supports our muscle function and recovery after strenuous activity. It also keeps our bones strong and healthy, helps our nervous system function properly, and helps us sleep better at night. It may also play a large role in insulin sensitivity and resistance; however, this is still being researched, so there is not yet definitive proof. Similarly, magnesium may have an effect on our thyroid function, with low levels of magnesium often found in people having thyroid problems. The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 320-420 mg per day for adults.

What Does Calcium Do?

Calcium is also an alkaline earth metal, most well known for being a main player in our bone health. A whopping 99% of the calcium in our bodies is found in our bones and teeth. Calcium is often taken in combination with vitamin D, which helps manage absorption and keep the levels of calcium in our bodies level. This is very important, as either a deficiency or a surplus of calcium can cause other health problems. In terms of deficiency, this is most commonly found as a loss of bone density. The recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1,000-1,200 mg per day.

So what about taking magnesium and calcium together? Typically, when a person is experiencing a calcium deficiency, they are also deficient in magnesium. Both of these metals can be depleted in our bodies due to smoking or consuming excess alcohol. However, natural variables like aging and pregnancy can also deplete supplies. When taken together, magnesium and calcium have a synergistic effect. Since our bodies use them the same way, taking them together will increase the benefits of both metals.

What About Calcium, Magnesium, And Zinc?

So, what about zinc? Zinc is another metal that supports our bone health. With aging, bone levels of zinc seem to decrease over time. In this study, those who supplemented with the mineral reported improvements in bone mineral density. Zinc promotes bone health by playing a key role in managing osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoclasts are responsible for bone resorption and osteoblasts are responsible for new bone formation In fact, there are additional vitamins that work together to support our bone health. Vitamin D is vital for regulating the amount of calcium in our bodies, but it’s also required for magnesium to activate and function properly. Many of these elements are found in single-dose multivitamins, meaning that they are all proven to be safe when taken together.

How Do Calcium And Magnesium Affect Each Other In The Body?

Overall, calcium and magnesium work well to support one another and keep our bones healthy. It is, however, interesting to note that studies have found that there may be a correlation between levels of calcium and magnesium. Many people eating a modern diet heavy in processed foods are low in vitamin D and have an elevated phosphate intake, which may worsen a magnesium deficiency. The opposite is also true: A significant amount of magnesium can make a calcium deficiency more obvious due to competition for absorption. Therefore, it is vital to make sure that you are consuming an adequate amount of both calcium and magnesium.

What Is The Ideal Calcium-to-Magnesium Ratio?

The ideal amount is a 2:1 dosage – two parts calcium to one part magnesium. This dosage will keep your body’s levels balanced and ensure that the calcium and magnesium work together well. If this ratio is out of balance, there may be some adverse side effects. For example, you may experience an elevated amount of one and a deficiency of the other.

Tips For Striking The Calcium Magnesium Balance

The best way to ensure that the amounts of calcium and magnesium in our bodies are balanced is to consume both as part of a balanced diet.

Calcium is found in:

  • Dairy products
  • Soy products (especially edamame and tofu)
  • Sardines and salmon (with bones)
  • Almonds and leafy greens like collards, spinach, and mustard greens

Magnesium can be found in:

  • Legumes
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Poultry
  • Dark chocolate (varieties that are at least 70% dark chocolate)

If you find it challenging to eat a variety of these foods and are concerned about your intake of magnesium or calcium, supplements are a good option. Both are commonly found in multivitamins, but there are also many magnesium supplements containing calcium. Care/of’s Calcium Plus, contains calcium from Icelandic algae, magnesium which is derived from Irish seawater high in minerals, and vitamin D for an extra punch of benefits.

Key Takeaways

Calcium and magnesium are both vital to our bone health. These two elements can be safely taken together as they work together to support our bone strength and density, among other positive effects. Taking calcium and magnesium together as either individual supplements or part of a multivitamin is very common and proven to be safe. The most important thing to be sure of is that, whether through diet or supplements, the appropriate ratio of calcium to magnesium is ingested. Keeping a balance between the two metals will ensure that our bones are kept healthy and strong.

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