We are taught that the key to improved bone health, including improved bone density, lies in the consumption of calcium-rich foods. However, it turns out that calcium is one of the many minerals your body requires for building solid bones. According to this study, magnesium is likely to be the real key to stronger and healthier bones. Magnesium is mineral which is commonly found in sunflower seeds, broccoli, spinach, basil, and sesame seeds.
LOOKING CRITICALLY AT CALCIUM
It has been scientifically shown that increased levels of calcium, especially the use of calcium supplements, is linked to higher risk of for heart attack, particularly in women.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, calcium supplements are a poor substitute for dietary calcium. High intake of calcium supplements is linked to kidney stones and other health issues.
Calcium carbonate, which is found in calcium supplements and pasteurized milk, is significantly difficult for the body to absorb without an agent, such as citric acid.
As shown by a 2007 study, calcium derived from dietary sources has more beneficial effects on bone health when compared to calcium from supplements in postmenopausal women.
Abrams, the head of a study at the Baylor College Of Medicine, focused on the intake and absorption of magnesium during childhood. The most surprising finding was that calcium intake and absorption were not notoriously linked to the total bone mineral content and bone density while magnesium intake and absorption clearly were.
“Dietary magnesium intake may be an important, relatively unrecognized, factor in bone mineral accretion in children,” the researchers revealed.
“Lots of nutrients are key for children to have healthy bones. One of these appears to be magnesium,” said Abrams. “Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.”
The researchers were pretty concerned about the fact that while calcium intake is widely promoted for better bone health, it appears that other minerals, such as magnesium, were going relatively unremarked on. They advise parents to make sure their children get enough magnesium. Moreover, they would like to see more awareness about the role of magnesium when it comes to better bone health.
According to a report by Kathryn M. Ride and colleagues from the University of Memphis, Tennessee, magnesium intake is not just important for children. Elderly people, who are at increased risk for bone fractures, should get enough magnesium, too.
SUPPLEMENTING WITH DIETARY MAGNESIUM
It appears that the ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet is 1:1. Even though the ratio of 2:1 works too, today`s diets contain a calcium to magnesium ratio of closer to 10:1. In other words, this is ten times more calcium than magnesium.
Green leafy vegetables, nuts of any kind, cacao, and seeds are some of the best sources of magnesium. In addition, you can also add some Epsom salt to a hot bath as it is made of magnesium sulfate.
Even though getting your magnesium naturally is the best, many people who are deficient in magnesium can consider taking supplements. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 350-400 mg daily, and most magnesium capsules contain between 250 and 500 mg of magnesium. These capsules should be taken on an empty stomach or with meals.
When it comes to measuring the levels of magnesium in the body, it can be tricky. As a matter of fact, only a small fraction of your body`s magnesium is stored in the blood, and in case of this level drops, the body takes magnesium from the bones and tissues to replenish the level. Consequently, the blood test is likely to show a normal reading of magnesium levels, even if the body could still be deficient.