Magnesium for Bones

By Fritz Mequiabas, RN,  BSN

Magnesium for bones

There are two primary minerals necessary for bone growth, maintenance and repair; one is calcium, the other is magnesium.

Calcium is mostly present in milk and dairy products while magnesium for bones is found in nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. It is important to consume enough of both of these minerals in order to prevent serious health complications.

Both calcium and magnesium are important

Most everyone knows that calcium is needed to prevent osteoporosis and to maintain strong bones and teeth.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that magnesium is equally important for strong bones and teeth. Magnesium is needed for the utilization of calcium.

Without magnesium, the benefits of calcium cannot be fully realized, and problems like osteoporosis, arthritis and menstrual cramps are likely to occur.

The Roles of Calcium and Magnesium


Of course, calcium is a key player in bone health. At the third trimester of pregnancy, this mineral is constantly needed by the baby for proper development of bones and teeth.

In fact, about 99% of calcium is found in bones and the remaining 1% is distributed in the blood as ionic calcium.


Though calcium is important, magnesium’s role should not be underestimated. While calcium continues to accumulate in bones until early adulthood, magnesium for bones is also responsible for maintaining bone health.

According to studies, the key component of bone matrix is magnesium. A deficiency of magnesium can make bones brittle and increase the risk for fragile bone fractures.

The skeletal system cannot exist without magnesium. Researchers have found that a decrease in bone mass (osteoporosis) is due to the absence and inadequacy of magnesium levels.

The nature of magnesium is to control the transport of calcium from the bones to the bloodstream. Thus, without magnesium, the calcium content of bones will continue to decrease, along with bone mass density. 

Magnesium and Bone Health

Since both calcium and magnesium play a vital role, in bone health, there should be a balance between the two in order to prevent bone loss.

In new research conducted by a team of health experts at the University of Tennessee, there is a link between magnesium intake and its effect on bone mineral density. In this study, researchers looked at data from 2,038 participants, including black and white men and women, 70 to 79 years old.

The results of this study indicated that those with proper magnesium intake have higher bone mass density as compared to those who don’t get adequate magnesium for bones. This study demonstrated that magnesium is just as important as calcium for bone health.

Researchers calculated that each 100 mg. increase of magnesium intake resulted in a one percent increase in the density of bone mass. Such a small daily increase of magnesium intake resulted in a huge impact on bone health.

Even at half of the daily dose, a low sodium Sea Mineral product provides over 200 mg in daily magnesium.

Magnesium Helps to Prevent Osteoporosis

Bone density is at its peak in our early 20s, but then declines as we age. Although this is part of the normal aging process, factors like a drop in estrogen and testosterone levels,

Family history, alcohol abuse, smoking, an existing health condition and a lack of exercise can hasten the onset of osteoporosis.

This progressive bone disease can be a great detriment to one’s health, since it makes the skeletal system vulnerable to fractures.

Osteoporosis and its complications are difficult to treat. This is why health practitioners advise calcium supplementation, lifestyle modification and regular exercise to prevent this medical condition from developing.

However, researchers have also found that magnesium deficiency can increase the risk for osteoporosis.

Why it is hard to get enough magnesium through food

Unfortunately, modern farming practices generally don’t include magnesium for bones in fertilizer blends. Foods today may have as little as 30% of the magnesium present in the same food back in the 1930’s.

Because it is now so difficult to get enough magnesium through diet alone, some researchers and doctors are now recommending that a daily magnesium supplement be taken.

How magnesium improves bone density

Magnesium is necessary for calcium absorption

It suppresses the parathyroid hormone, which is responsible for drawing calcium out from bones, and stimulates calcitonin, which helps to keep bone minerals intact.

This helps to maintain good bone density.

Magnesium helps reduce arthritis, kidney stonesand gall stones caused by excess calcium

A lot of individuals increase their calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis. What they may not realize is that excess calcium tends to lodge in soft tissues, causing arthritis.

Magnesium helps to remedy the problem by helping the body absorb these calcium deposits back into the blood stream.

Excess calcium also finds its way to the kidneys and gallbladder, causing painful kidney stones and gall stones.

Once again, when one balances calcium with magnesium for bones, the magnesium helps the body to prevent these stones from developing, and to reabsorb these calcium deposits back into the body when present.

This is just another reason why it is important to maintain a balance between calcium and magnesium. 

Balancing magnesium and other minerals

Eating a variety of foods helps to nourish the body with essential nutrients.

These foods supply a host of nutrients, including a rich supply of magnesium.

  • Dark, leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard and kale have 79 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams

  • Fruits like bananas, avocados and dried apricots also have 27 to 29 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams

  • Beans and lentils contain 86 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams

  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts, whole grains and salmon are also great sources of magnesium 

Variety promotes a balanced intake of vitamins and minerals that the body needs for normal function.

Individuals that rely heavily on supplementing with specific vitamins and minerals risk upsetting this balance and resulting in toxicity or the over consumption of a particular vitamin or mineral.

When taking a mineral supplement, it is best to find a balanced product that contains a wide variety of minerals. The ocean offers us this balance

Magnesium for bones serves a number of functions in the body, and as such is widely available in our bodies. Studies show that excessive intake of magnesium supplements can result in side effects like abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

Recommended daily magnesium intake for women is 380 mg; for men it is 420 mg. It is important to balance calcium and magnesium intake. The standard recommendation has been a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. However, some experts now suggest a 1 to 1 ratio. 

For proper absorption of calcium and magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 are also needed. When taken together, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 help to promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis.

Benefits of magnesium

Magnesium is involved in 300 biochemical reactions

  • It helps to regulate the normal functioning of muscles and nerves

  • It contributes toward a steady heart beat

  • It can help to boost the immune system

  • It is helpful for maintaining proper bone health

In fact, magnesium can help prevent and manage disorders like atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction and kidney stones.

The Best Sources of Magnesium

In order to get the right amount of magnesium, two main sources should be considered.

  • Magnesium found in food

  • A magnesium supplement

When taking a magnesium supplement, it is important to know its preparation and dosage.

  • Some manufacturers combine magnesium with other minerals, which can help to balance the body’s mineral needs

  • Others sell a simple magnesium compound, which can become toxic if taken in large doses.

It is best to take a magnesium supplement recommended by your doctor. 

Conclusion - Magnesium for Bones

Magnesium is generally undervalued, but its benefits are enormous.

It works together with calcium, vitamin D3 and K2 to maintain healthy bones.

Magnesium is also necessary for many biochemical reactions in the body. A magnesium supplement may be needed to get enough daily magnesium.

(Return from Magnesium For Bones to Magnesium for Constipation) 

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