When you take supplements, it is best to choose one that would allow you to take calcium with magnesium. Both calcium and magnesium are important dietary minerals. When you take calcium and magnesium, you are able to maximize the benefits of these two substances.
Calcium is an important component of your bones. In an average body weighing 154 lb., about 1,000 g of calcium is present. Approximately 98 percent of calcium is stored in your bones; 1 percent in your teeth; and the remaining 1 percent in your blood, cells and extracellular fluids. Your body needs a regular supply of calcium. Calcium is needed to prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay. It also helps trigger the clotting process by activating fibrin, therefore preventing you from bleeding excessively. Together with magnesium, calcium helps in the regulation of heartbeat, muscle contraction, muscle tone and nerve conduction.
In a body weighing 154 lb., the average magnesium level is 19 g. Your bones and teeth contain about 65 percent of this amount, 25 percent is in the muscles, and the rest is distributed among your blood and body tissues. Magnesium serves as a co-factor in many enzymatic reactions in the body, and it is mainly involved in energy production. Magnesium, together with calcium, creates a balance in muscle contraction. Calcium contracts muscles, while magnesium relaxes them. In biochemical terms, calcium enters the nerve cells through chemical channels. When magnesium blocks these channels, calcium is unable to enter, thereby preventing the transmission of signals from the nerves and keeping the muscle relaxed. This is the reason why when you are deficient in magnesium, you might experience muscle spasms, cramps, soreness and fatigue. With insufficient amounts of magnesium in your body, your muscles tend to overcontract, leading to these symptoms.
Relationship Between Calcium and Magnesium
The interaction of calcium with magnesium is not yet fully understood, but it appears that both minerals work best when they are taken together. Magnesium is required for calcium to maintain its metabolic functions. On the other hand, it can also compete with calcium, as elucidated by the previous muscle contraction example.
Sources of Calcium and Magnesium
Good sources of magnesium include green vegetables like broccoli, Swiss chard, mustard greens, celery, green beans and turnip greens. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds are also rich in magnesium. Good sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables, salmon, sardines, almonds and other nuts.
Beware that some components of your diet may interfere with your calcium and magnesium absorption. Chocolate and foods high in oxalic acid, such as beets, spinach and rhubarb, prevent calcium absorption by inducing the formation of insoluble calcium oxalate salts. Other foods that may diminish the body’s absorption of calcium include fiber-rich foods, tea, coffee, soda and whole grain products.
The most common value suggested for calcium with magnesium supplemental intake is 2 parts calcium with 1 part magnesium. However, this depends on your personal needs. For more information about your calcium and magnesium requirements, it would be best to consult a doctor or a nutritionist.