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Why do we need Calcium and Magnesium?
Calcium and magnesium are the most abundant minerals in our bodies, making up 2% of our total body weight. They are necessary for most bodily functions, and it is estimated that 80% of all American women are calcium and
magnesium deficient. Calcium and magnesium are involved in the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction (including the heart muscle), blood clotting, reducing cholesterol, enhancing the immune system, maintaining strong bones and teeth, and proper sleep.
What factors lead to a Calcium and Magnesium deficiency?
The most common factors leading to calcium and magnesium deficiency are poor eating habits, stress, and lack of exercise. Birth control pills draw on the body’s calcium and magnesium levels and large intakes of dietary fat, oxalic acid (present in chocolate) and phytic acid (found in wheat bran) can prevent the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the body. Excessive intake of phosphorus, which is present in most soft drinks and junk food, can also cause calcium and magnesium loss from bones. The body needs phosphorus in a one-to-one ratio with calcium and magnesium; however, too much phosphorus in the diet can inhibit calcium absorption. Emotional stress and physical stress due to injury, pregnancy or a strict diet can also lead to calcium and magnesium loss. Stress may also increase cortisone production in the body which can interfere with calcium and magnesium absorption. Women are more prone to calcium and magnesium deficiencies than men. Women lose bone very rapidly in the first few years after menopause. Until menopause, estrogen seems to control the function of the parathyroid gland that monitors the release of calcium and magnesium from the bones. After menopause, this monitoring system can be adversely affected and calcium and magnesium may be lost. Some individuals are at
higher risk for calcium and magnesium loss than others. Risk factors include small bones, short stature, fair complexion, slender body type, high alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of exercise, and insufficient dietary calcium.
What are the symptoms of Calcium deficiency?
Calcium and magnesium deficiency symptoms include irritability and nervousness, muscle cramping and fatigue, osteoporosis, periodontal disease, insomnia, high blood pressure, menstrual problems, confusion, throat spasms, and twitching and jerking of the major or minor muscles.
What Is The RDA For Calcium And Magnesium, And Which Foods Are The Best Sources?
The RDA for calcium and magnesium for adults is from 800 to 1,200 mg. However, most nutritionists recommend 1,000 to 1,500 mg daily for women, long before the start of menopause to prevent calcium and magnesium deficiency which may lead to osteoporosis. Calcium-rich food sources include organic rice, almond or soymilk, plus dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, salmon, and sardines.
What Factors Are Involved In The Metabolism And Absorption Of Calcium And Magnesium?
Utilization of calcium and magnesium depends particularly on correct phosphorus and magnesium levels. In general, we should have a two-to-one ratio of calcium to magnesium. A deficiency of magnesium decreases calcium as well as potassium levels leading to enzyme problems that can interfere with calcium and magnesium metabolism.
Calcium and magnesium work synergistically to benefit the health of the cardiovascular system. Calcium and magnesium also work together with phosphorus, and both are involved in the health of the bones and teeth. Both magnesium and phosphorus facilitate calcium absorption in the body. Vitamins A and C also assist in the metabolism of calcium, and magnesium, and Vitamin D is required for its absorption.
Do Calcium and Magnesium Supplements Work?
Yes, one of the best ways to receive sufficient calcium and magnesium levels is through supplementation. Calcium and magnesium supplementation in the range of 1,000 mg daily supports regeneration of bone and maintenance of blood pressure within normal range.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using these or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.