We all know that calcium is critical for bone health, but that is only a small part of the equation. First of all, this mineral is vital for muscle, nerve and heart health as well as your skeleton. In addition, many people do not understand the relationship between magnesium and calcium, meaning that you need to check your supplements to ensure that you are taking what you need, because not getting enough of this critical mineral can cause problems.
Magnesium and calcium work together at the cellular level. Basically, magnesium is critical for your body to absorb the calcium it is taking in because it produces the hormone that your body needs to process it. The relationship between calcium and magnesium is further emphasized when considering that good old magnesium is what keeps your ingested calcium out of myosin, which is the protein that allows for muscle contraction. Stimulated by magnesium, calcium gets released to help the muscles relax. Consequently, the interaction of these two minerals helps explain the cause of spasms and painful cramps in our body, including women’s menstrual cramps. When either one of the two minerals is in short supply, or the two are in the wrong proportion, cramps take place.
Magnesium and calcium are critical when taken together in supplement form, and some doctors are even throwing out the old 1:2 ratio and opting instead for a 1:1 ratio of magnesium and calcium. The reason why? Because having a lot of bone building calcium floating around without the proper tools to process it can lead to an overabundance that can cause many issues such as kidney stones.
Most people do well with 500 to 600 mg of calcium magnesium citrate supplement per day, preferably split into two 300 mg doses since our body can only absorb 500 mg of calcium per one individual dose. However, some people may need to adjust the level of one or both minerals, in case they get cramps soon after starting to take the supplements. If that happens, start by increasing magnesium by 100-150 mg to balance the calcium. If that doesn’t work, calcium may need to be lowered by 100-150 mg instead. With time, you may need to re-adjust the balance of cal-mag to find the optimal level for you.
In addition, your body needs a few more things to use and distribute your calcium. This is why you will often see calcium magnesium vitamin D supplements. It’s important to provide your body with enough D, as vitamin D and calcium absorption are also very important partners. Your body needs D in the same way it needs magnesium, to process and move around the calcium that you are taking in. Look to see if your calcium magnesium citrate supplement is also providing you with vitamin D.
Remember to discuss any supplements you are taking with your health care provider, and to ensure that you are taking a well rounded product that will provide you with all of the nutrients you need in order to give your body all the goodness you are putting in to it.