Should You Take Calcium and Magnesium Together?

Should You Take Calcium and Magnesium Together?

The balanced duo: how calcium and magnesium together boost your health.

It's a widespread myth that calcium and magnesium are like oil and water - they just don't mix. On the contrary, modern research shows that the duo may just be the dynamic supplement pair your body needs(1). Let's debunk this misconception and understand the reasons why these two minerals are better together.

Shouldn't Calcium and Magnesium be Taken Separately?

Despite what you may have heard, science gives us a resounding "no." While it's true that certain nutrients can interfere with each other's absorption(2), calcium and magnesium aren't locked in such a feud. Instead, they may play together better than we previously thought.

Research suggests that calcium and magnesium may be absorbed and used more efficiently when taken together(3). This isn't a case of two stars trying to outshine each other on stage. Rather, they perform a choreographed dance, each highlighting the other's strengths and making up for any weaknesses.

Why Does The Ratio Matter?

The real key to the calcium and magnesium balancing act is the ratio(4). In the past, a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium was recommended. However, newer research suggests a 1:1 ratio may be optimal for most people. This balance ensures neither mineral overwhelms the other and both can do their jobs effectively(5).

What are the Benefits of Calcium?

It's no secret that calcium is crucial for strong bones and teeth(6). It's like the sturdy bricks in the house your body calls home. But that's not all! Calcium also plays a critical role in muscle function, nerve transmission, and even maintaining a regular heartbeat(7).

And What About Magnesium?

Magnesium is the unsung hero of your body's metabolic functions. Like the trusty sidekick, magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, from protein synthesis to blood pressure regulation(8). It also plays a critical role in transporting calcium and potassium across cell membranes, a process vital for muscle contraction, nerve impulse conduction, and maintaining a healthy heartbeat(9).

What Are the Benefits of Taking Magnesium and Calcium Together?

Let's cut to the chase: taking calcium and magnesium together can offer some tangible benefits.

For starters, magnesium can help prevent potential side effects of calcium supplementation. For example, some people who take calcium supplements alone may experience constipation. Adding magnesium can counteract this, as magnesium is known to help maintain bowel regularity(10).

Moreover, magnesium helps optimize calcium absorption. This teamwork ensures that the calcium you take doesn't just go in one end and out the other, but is instead used by your body as it should be(11).

Finally, the combo of calcium and magnesium can contribute to better bone health. While calcium gets the limelight for strengthening bones, magnesium also plays a vital role in bone density. It can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that can make bones weak and brittle(12).

So next time you're pondering your supplement regimen, remember: calcium and magnesium are a tag team. These two work better together, and their cooperative effort can yield substantial benefits for your body.

Why Haven't I Heard This Before?

Good question! The misconception likely stems from outdated research and a lack of public knowledge about mineral interactions. Thankfully, modern research is clearing the air and helping us understand how these minerals truly interact in our bodies(13). Stay curious, stay informed, and here's to your health.


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(1) Grober, U., Schmidt, J., & Kisters, K. (2015). Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients, 7(9), 8199–8226.

(2) Schuette, S. A., Ziegler, E. E., & Nelson, S. E. (1990). Interactions among dietary calcium, protein, and phytic acid affect calcium retention by young men. Journal of Nutrition, 120(5), 481-486.

(3) Schwalfenberg, G. K., & Genuis, S. J. (2017). The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica, 2017, 4179326.

(4) DiNicolantonio, J. J., O'Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart, 5(1), e000668.

(5) Bohn, T. (2017). Dietary Factors Influencing Magnesium Absorption in Humans. Current Nutrition & Food Science, 3(2), 91-99.

(6) T. D. Rachner, S. Khosla, and L. C. Hofbauer, “Osteoporosis: now and the future,” Lancet, vol. 377, no. 9773, pp. 1276–1287, 2011.

(7) Bolland, M. J., Avenell, A., Baron, J. A., Grey, A., MacLennan, G. S., Gamble, G. D., & Reid, I. R. (2010). Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. Bmj, 341.

(8) Castiglioni, S., Cazzaniga, A., Albisetti, W., & Maier, J. A. (2013). Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients, 5(8), 3022-3033.

(9) Gröber, U., Schmidt, J., & Kisters, K. (2015). Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients, 7(9), 8199–8226.

(10) Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. (2017). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(5), 429.

(11) Farsinejad-Marj, M., Saneei, P., & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2015). Dietary magnesium intake, bone mineral density and risk of fracture: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Osteoporosis International, 27(4), 1389-1399.

(12) Orchard, T. S., Larson, J. C., Alghothani, N., Bout-Tabaku, S., Cauley, J. A., Chen, Z., Lacroix, A. Z., Wactawski-Wende, J., & Jackson, R. D. (2014). Magnesium intake, bone mineral density, and fractures: results from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99(4), 926-933.

(13) Moshfegh, A., Goldman, J., & Cleveland, L. (2005). What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual nutrient intakes from food compared to dietary reference intakes. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

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