Did you know that there are approximately seventeen nutrients essential for healthy bones, including the most important mineral along with some calcium? Susan Brown, Ph.D., director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York, warns that “the use of calcium supplementation in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to a deposition of calcium in the soft tissue such as the joints, promoting arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.” Dr. Brown primarily recommends a daily dose of 450 mg of magnesium for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Women with osteoporosis have lower-than-average levels of magnesium in their diets, according to survey reports. Magnesium deficiency can compromise calcium metabolism and also hinder the body’s production of vitamin D, further weakening bones.
In the 2017 Edition of The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean outlines magnesium’s multi-factoral role in the structure and function of healthy bone:
- Adequate levels of magnesium are essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium.
- Magnesium stimulates a particular hormone, calcitonin, that helps to preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, preventing some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.
- Magnesium suppresses another bone hormone called parathyroid hormone, preventing it from breaking down bone.
- Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can help calcium absorption.
- Magnesium is required to activate an enzyme that is necessary to form new bone.
- Magnesium regulates active calcium transport.
- It is also important to mention that vitamin K2, along with magnesium, plays an important role in helping direct calcium to the bones where it belongs.
With all these roles for magnesium to play, it is no wonder that even a mild deficiency can be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Furthermore, if there is too much calcium in the body, especially from calcium supplementation, magnesium absorption can be greatly impaired, resulting in worsening osteoporosis and the likelihood of kidney stones, arthritis, and heart disease as well as gallstones, heel spurs, and breast tissue calcification.
Most people, including M.D.’s, do not understand the importance of balancing calcium and magnesium at the cellular level. Calcium cannot build bones or prevent osteoporosis without adequate levels of magnesium. It’s as simple as that. If our bones were made entirely from calcium, they would become brittle and could shatter just like a stick of chalk falling on the sidewalk. However, with the right percentage of magnesium, bone has the proper density and matrix that actually makes it flexible and more resistant to shattering. Consider this: many elderly people may be suffering bone fractures because they have too much calcium and not enough magnesium.