If you’re looking for a simple supplement plan with the power to transform your life, take magnesium and vitamin D together. These two nutrients work synergistically to optimize body composition and energy levels while protecting the body from a long list of diseases.
Unfortunately, deficiencies in these two nutrients are widespread. Because magnesium and vitamin D work together, lack of one makes it more likely you’ll be deficient in the other.
Nutrients Work Together
Due to a combination of marketing and misinformation, many people think of the elements of nutrition and its effects on the body as unique individual pieces. In fact, nutrients act in a coordinated manner. Absorption and metabolism of a particular nutrient is often dependent on other nutrients. Magnesium and vitamin D are two that work together and are necessary for the health of various organs.
At the most basic level, magnesium is necessary to turn the inactive form of vitamin D into the active form that can strengthen bone and other tissues.
On the flip side, vitamin D improves your body’s ability to absorb magnesium in the intestine. Absorbing as much magnesium as possible is critical because most westerners do not meet the minimum requirements for magnesium through diet alone.
What Are The Benefits of Magnesium?
Magnesium is essential for life as it regulates the nervous system. Other benefits include:
Maintaining a healthy heart by regulating blood pressure and reducing rates of heart attacks and strokes.
Supporting bone health by regulating the action of calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus.
Maintaining antioxidant status in cells, helping the body manage inflammation and repair cells.
Improving relaxation and sleep by calming the central nervous system and balancing stress hormones.
Protecting your metabolism by helping the body regulate blood glucose levels.
Who Is At Risk of Magnesium Deficiency?
The average American diet contains about 50 percent of the RDA for magnesium and as much as three-quarters of the population is magnesium deficient. Lifestyle factors that increase risk of magnesium deficiency include use of caffeine and alcohol, as well as high-intensity exercise. People with diabetes, GI problems, eating disorders, thyroid disease, heart disease, and hypertension are also at risk of magnesium deficiency.
Risk of magnesium deficiency has increased dramatically over the last 80 years. Changes in soil conditions, use of fertilizers and pesticides, and removal of magnesium during food processing means we are getting less of this mineral in food. Additionally, the shift away towards diets high refined foods has contributed to lack of magnesium in the diet.
Vitamin D is a hormone-like nutrient that is critical for human survival, maintaining the integrity of the skeletal system. Other benefits include:
Working with magnesium to support immunity and your body’s response to pathogens.
Having anti-inflammatory action and supporting the function of the heart and blood vessels.
Reducing risk of mortality and disease by launching the body’s antioxidant response and balancing hormones.
Improving insulin sensitivity and helping the body regulate glucose levels.
Am I At Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Deficiencies in vitamin D are widespread due to lack of sun exposure and regular sunscreen use. Other factors that increase risk of low vitamin D include obesity, pharmaceutical drug use, and chronic illness. Additionally, dietary vitamin D is rarely adequate to achieve a healthy level.
Why Are Magnesium and Vitamin D BFFs?
Magnesium is necessary for the production of enzymes that allow the body to convert inactive vitamin D into the active form. Another reason to take the two together is that magnesium is necessary for vitamin D-carrier proteins that transport it to target tissues in the blood.
Studies show benefits of optimizing levels of both magnesium and vitamin D on health: In a study of 126 patients with controlled diabetes, supplementation with 2,000 IUs a day of vitamin D3 improved serum levels of magnesium.
When vitamin D is lacking, magnesium can step in when it comes to preserving bone health:
In a study of postmenopausal women who were losing bone, taking magnesium reduced bone turnover. Markers of bone-building osteocalcin increased by 44 percent. In comparison, a placebo group had a 5 percent decrease in osteocalcin.
Scientists have even theorized that consuming the RDA of magnesium may be more effective in preventing bone thinning than taking vitamin D alone since vitamin D will be inactive without adequate magnesium. Additionally, magnesium binds at the surface of the crystals in bone to determine growth. This means magnesium-deficient bones are more brittle bones and prone to fractures.
How To Take Magnesium and Vitamin D?
The U.S. RDA for elemental magnesium is 420 mg a day for men and 320 mg a day for women. Studies show benefits appear in magnesium dosages as low as 250 mg of magnesium in magnesium-deficient individuals but may need to be increased to between 10 to 12 mg/kg of body weight for therapeutic interventions.
For vitamin D, in the absence of sun exposure, 1,000 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily will bring levels to 30 ng/mL (considered adequate) in 50 percent of the general population. A dose of 2,000 to 7,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day should be sufficient to maintain year-round serum levels between 40-70 ng/mL.
Final Words: A first step to feeling better is to give your body the nutrients it needs to heal itself. If you take vitamin D and magnesium together, you will be further down the road to better nutrition for optimal wellness.