For years, science has considered calcium the Holy Grail when it comes to the health of the bones. However, it has since been discovered that calcium is only one mineral important for the bones. In fact, scientists have proven that magnesium is even more important for our bones than calcium, shattering a decades old belief that was rooted in our minds.
According to a study conducted by the Pediatric Academic Societies, science has been promoting the use of calcium as a prevention of weakness in the bones for decades. This myth has led to the increased use of calcium supplements, which haven’t been proven as effective.
What the majority of people don’t know is that the myth was promoted by the dairy products industry so they can sell their products. This industry has claimed that consumption of milk or cheese increases the levels of calcium, but this isn’t true. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which can’t enter the cells without a chelating agent. In order to reduce the calcium carbonate in our blood, the body “steals” calcium from our bones and tissues which leads to osteoporosis.
According to data from a study conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the intake of magnesium during childhood is the key for healthy bone density and mineral content. Professor Steven Abrams, who led the study, showed that the calcium intake was not associated with proper bone health. “A lot of nutrients are the key for healthy bones in children, and one of them seems to be magnesium”, said Abrams. “Calcium is important, but, with the exception of those children and adolescents with very low intakes, it’s not more important than magnesium.”
The study also revealed there are other minerals important for the health of the bones which parents are unaware of. The increased consumption of magnesium has been linked to higher bone mineral density in males and females – the results showed an increase of 2% for every 100 mg. of magnesium taken per day.
“Osteoporotic fractures are a major problem for the elderly,” Dr. Kathryn M. Ryder from the University of Tennessee, Memphis wrote in a report. Due to the high prevalence of low bone mineral density and fractures, small improvements in bone mineral density can have a big effect on public health. Although not studied extensively, magnesium seems to be even more important than calcium for proper bone health.
Magnesium supplements can be found in the form of pills – the daily recommended allowance is 350-400 mg. per day, although some people may need double the amount. We suggest combining magnesium and calcium supplements for best results.
Experts recommend taking magnesium supplements a few times a day – they can be taken on an empty stomach or with a meal. Epsom salt baths are another great way of increasing your magnesium intake. The salts can be absorbed through the skin and will easily replenish your magnesium reserves.
Of course, food is the best magnesium source. Dietary sources of magnesium include cocoa, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, so make sure to include these foods in your diet.