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Vitamin D Supplements May be Ineffective for People With Inadequate Magnesium Levels

Magnesium assists in the activation of vitamin D. The adequate balance of magnesium and vitamin D is essential for maintaining the physiologic functions of various organs. A recent study suggests that vitamin D can’t be metabolized into its active form without sufficient levels of magnesium.


The review found that many people are taking vitamin D supplements, but they are not properly metabolizing the vitamin D due to insufficient magnesium levels,. Additionally, un-metabolized vitamin D supplements can raise phosphate and calcium levels in the blood, while people remain vitamin D deficient.


The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. A standard diet in the United States only provides approximately 50% of that amount of magnesium. The researchers estimate that nearly half the US population is magnesium-deficient, largely due to increased consumption of processed foods that are high in fat, refined grains, phosphate, and sugar.


The researchers suggest that taking vitamin D supplements without adequate levels of magnesium may be not useful at best and unsafe at worst. Consumption of vitamin D supplements can increase a person’s calcium and phosphate levels if the vitamin D is not properly absorbed. This can result in vascular calcification if magnesium levels aren’t high enough to prevent the complication.


Researchers from the University of Rwanda and Harvard University conducted the study. It was published in the March 2018 issue of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.


Previous studies have linked magnesium to better cardiovascular, blood sugar and bone health. Magnesium deficiency, which tends to be especially prevalent in older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.


Eating more magnesium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains, nuts and milk is one way to increase your magnesium intake. Taking a supplement is also a good option.

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