Saturday, March 29, 2014

Magnesium Intake Affects Vitamin D Status

If you feel like you're ingesting bucket loads of vitamin D capsules yet your blood levels remain lower than you would like...make sure you're getting enough magnesium. Research conducted by Deng et al. and published in BMC Medicine concludes that magnesium intake can affect vitamin D status.

Magnesium is vital for a whole host of biochemical reactions in the body--at least two of which are critical for bone health. Magnesium is necessary for the parathyroid glands to produce
parathormone (PTH), a hormone that regulates blood calcium levels. If blood calcium levels are too low, the release of PTH activates osteoclastic degradation of bone to help raise blood calcium levels back to normal. Normal levels of PTH are important for bone remodeling activity and the maintenance of healthy bones.

Magnesium is also involved in vitamin D production. As it turns out, magnesium is necessary for the production of three enzymes that are key to the production of 25(OH)D (vitamin D) and its active form, 1,25(OH)2D. Without optimal blood levels of vitamin D (40 to 80 ng/ml) we are unable to absorb calcium from the gut (among other things) which is critical for optimal bone health.

By analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES: 2001 to 2006), Deng et al. concluded that "magnesium was independently associated with significantly reduced risks of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency respectively. Intake of magnesium significantly interacted with intake of vitamin D in relation to risk of both vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency." They concluded that "it is possible that magnesium intake alone or its interaction with vitamin D intake may contribute to vitamin D status."

Although magnesium is derived from foods such as legumes, whole grains, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, seeds, and nuts, deficiency is common. Ever wonder why you get muscle cramps, twitching of the skin below your eye, constipation, fatigue, rapid heart rate...these could be signs of low magnesium. The best lab test for assessing magnesium status is to have your doctor order a red blood cell magnesium. The standard serum magnesium test is not ideal.

To ensure adequate magnesium intake, make sure you are getting a total of 500 to 700 mg between food and supplements. When supplementing with magnesium, I prefer the forms of magnesium bisglycinate chelate, dimagnesium malate, and magnesium citrate (all of which can be found in our OsteoNaturals products OsteoSustain and OsteoMineralBoost) over what may be less bioavailable forms such as magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate.  

Deng, X, et al. 2013. Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III. BMC Medicine 11:187.

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