Here’s what you need to know about vitamin D and your magnesium intake
02/18/2022 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Here’s what you need to know about vitamin D and your magnesium intake

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies on the planet. That’s partly because most people don’t realize that their vitamin D levels are tied to their magnesium levels. What usually happens is they neglect their magnesium intake and end up deficient in vitamin D despite eating vitamin D-rich foods.

Read on to learn more about vitamin D, magnesium and the link between the two.

Vitamin D and magnesium’s importance for your overall health

Any conversation about vitamin D is incomplete without a discussion of the mineral magnesium. These two are so closely tied to each other that you should really think of them as a pair. That said, it’s important to know how they impact your health individually before you can understand how and why they work together.

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For starters, vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids that help increase the intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphate and other minerals. In humans, the most important members of this group are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Both are well-absorbed in the small intestine.

Vitamin D2 mainly comes from plant-based and fortified foods, whereas vitamin D3 can only be found in meat, eggs, yogurt and other animal-sourced foods. Additionally, ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from sunlight triggers the formation of vitamin D3 from the compound 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin.

Nearly every cell in the human body has vitamin D receptors. When vitamin D2 or D3 binds to a vitamin D receptor, it can turn as many as 2,000 genes within the cell on or off, causing cellular changes. In animal studies, vitamin D has been found to turn off cancer-causing genes in this manner, as well as turn on those genes that are critical to immune health.

Some of the other positive effects of vitamin D include:

  • Better bone health – Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is critical for strong bones.
  • Lower blood pressure – Vitamin D can reduce the concentration of an enzyme called renin in the kidneys, which affects blood vessels and blood pressure.
  • More stable mood – Some studies have linked healthy vitamin D levels to reduced rates of clinical depression, a mood disorder marked by persistent feelings of sadness and emptiness.

About 40 percent of Americans have low vitamin D levels, while 10 percent are considered vitamin D-deficient.

Magnesium, on the other hand, is an essential mineral you need to take daily in relatively large amounts to stay healthy. Every cell in your body uses magnesium to function properly. In fact, magnesium is involved in over 600 processes in your body, including energy creation, protein formation and nervous system regulation.

Here are some of the other benefits of taking magnesium:

  • Better bone health – Magnesium contributes to bone density and bone crystal formation. Plus, it helps regulate vitamin D levels, which play a critical role in calcium absorption.
  • Less cramping – Magnesium binds to muscle cells to help them relax. Therefore, having low levels of magnesium can make it hard for muscle cells to relax, leading to cramping and spasms.
  • Better blood sugar control – Magnesium plays an important role in blood sugar control. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Better sleep – In animal studies, magnesium has been shown to regulate the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Lower risk for mood disorders – Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a greater risk for mood disorders, such as depression.

You can replenish your body’s supply of magnesium by eating magnesium-rich foods, such as beans, spinach, whole grains and certain nuts. Unfortunately, like many crucial vitamins and minerals, magnesium is a mineral that many people don’t get enough of. In fact, experts estimate that over 68 percent of Americans are magnesium-deficient.

How magnesium affects the absorption and function of vitamin D

Like most other nutrients, vitamin D can’t work without first being converted into a form that our bodies can absorb. The degree to which a nutrient can be absorbed is known as its bioavailability.

Vitamin D’s bioavailability depends on magnesium. That’s because enzymes in the liver and kidneys that help convert vitamin D into its active form, calcitriol, can’t work without sufficient amounts of magnesium to draw upon.

If vitamin D isn’t converted into its active form, vitamin D can actually increase your calcium levels instead of regulating them as it should. Exceeding your daily calcium needs can stimulate your hormones into drawing calcium out of your bones where it’s needed and depositing it in your arteries. There, calcium will combine with cholesterol, forming plaque that sticks to the walls of your arteries. That plaque can cause blockages.

For these reasons, it’s important to take adequate amounts of magnesium along with vitamin D. You could take supplements or eat foods rich in magnesium as part of a well-balanced diet. The following foods are great sources of magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Edamame
  • Potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Yogurt
  • Banana
  • Oily fish
  • Avocado
  • Chicken breast

For men, experts advise taking 400-420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily. For women, experts advise taking 310-320 mg of magnesium daily.

Magnesium is a critical factor in making vitamin D bioavailable. Without adequate levels of magnesium in your body, vitamin D remains stored and inactive. Therefore, you should try to meet your daily magnesium needs by eating magnesium-rich foods as part of a well-balanced diet or taking dietary supplements.

Sources:

Healthline.com 1

Healthline.com 2

Healthline.com 3

NaturalHealth365.com

ScienceDaily.com

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