Discover the benefits of magnesium, calcium & vitamin D & how much magnesium it’s recommended we need
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is from a family of minerals that also includes iron, calcium and potassium. It’s found in the body in all tissues, but more predominantly in bone tissues.
Is magnesium good for bone health?
Magnesium plays an important role in supporting bone health, but it’s not the only nutrient that contributes to bone health. Vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K also support bone health. This is why you’ll find products with a mix of these nutrients. So how do they all work together?
Bones are made of fibres of protein that are filled with calcium and other minerals to give them hardness and strength. Bones don’t stay the same throughout our life. In childhood they grow in size and strength, but from around the age of 30 our bones can start to lose calcium making them more fragile. Some people lose bone density much faster than normal as they age, so it’s important to establish strong healthy bones from childhood.
The benefits of calcium & vitamin D
Calcium is a component of bones, and getting the right amount is critical for bone health. However, you might not realise that vitamin D is also needed to absorb calcium. Vitamin D itself also relies on other nutrients to function properly within the body, and magnesium is one of them. Magnesium helps the use of vitamin D within the body and supports healthy bones and teeth.
Other factors and lifestyle choices can also help support strong bones. These include:
• Exercise such as running and walking
• Avoiding smoking
• Limiting your alcohol intake
Why do we need magnesium?
As well as being essential for bone health and teeth, magnesium also has many other important benefits. Magnesium helps turn food into energy, whilst supporting muscle function and energy levels. This also contributes to reducing tiredness and fatigue.
Magnesium food sources
Magnesium can be found in everyday foods, both plant and animal based. It’s also found in chlorophyll, the green plant pigment. Good sources of magnesium include:
• Green leafy vegetables
• Wholemeal bread
• Dairy products.
How much magnesium do we need?
Magnesium intake in the UK is found to be lower than recommended for certain groups of people. A recent nationwide nutrition survey showed that just under half of young women aged 11-18 years old have low magnesium intakes*. This could impact bone health later in life and it’s therefore critical that awareness of magnesium from all food sources improves.
The recommended amount of magnesium you need is:
• 300mg a day for men (19 to 64 years)
• 270mg a day for women (19-64 years)
Under 18s will require less magnesium daily (from 85mg from age one to 240mg at age 14).
Some people don’t eat enough magnesium-rich foods. To make sure you get the correct amount of magnesium recommended, eat a healthy balanced diet. There are also magnesium supplements that you may want to consider taking daily. Magnesium can help to maintain healthy bones and teeth, as well as reduce tiredness and fatigue.
You should be able to get all the magnesium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet, but if you take magnesium supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful – no more than 400mg per day is advised as a supplement.
Magnesium & menopause
The perimenopause and menopause cause changes in hormones for women, including lower levels of oestrogen, which can lead to a decreased bone and muscle mass. Since magnesium plays a key role in bone health, ensuring adequate magnesium levels during menopause may help to contribute to the maintenance of normal bones.
Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be substituted for a varied diet or healthy lifestyle.