When it comes to health and nutrition, many blogs, and writers talk about getting more nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and all the good stuff in your diet by eating more whole foods. While this is true, it’s important to understand that when it comes to nutrition within the body, balance and harmony is key. For example, If your body has too little of one mineral and too much of another then this can and will cause health problems.
When in excess some nutrients are stored in the body, this can be good or not so good, depending on the nutrient, some are depleted through the urine or sweat. When it comes to minerals the case is clear and there is plenty of proof that balance here is definitely very important. Today we’re talking about calcium, the mineral that is responsible for keeping healthy bones, a healthy pH in the body, keep cardiac muscles healthy, support kidney health, keep the teeth and gums healthy, and so much more.
When most people think of calcium they think it keeps your bones healthy and strong, and that’s about it. There’s much more to it than that though. It’s an important nutrient that is needed in the body, and utilized well when in the proper ratio. If the improper ratio of calcium to magnesium exists, than this can pose problems. This is why taking a calcium supplement can actually cause more health problems for people. In fact, most people should stop taking their calcium supplements immediately. There are a few reasons for this.
The first reason is the ratio of Calcium to Magnesium in your body, this is known as your CA/MG ratio, Calcium to magnesium ratio. A normal CA/MG ratio is is said to be 7:1, but some researchers believe that a healthy ratio is 1:1 ratio. This means that there is 7 times as much calcium than magnesium in the body in the 7:1 example, in the 1:1 example there would be an equal amount of calcium to magnesium in the body. If this ratio is higher (say 10:1) having much more calcium than magnesium in the body, it poses problems as this mineral imbalance leads to issues. The high end of ‘normal is 7:1’ and some researchers believe the ratio should be even. I lean more towards an equal ratio, say 3:1, 2:1 or 1:1 CA/MG ratio. The reason I believe newer research leads to a more balanced ratio (1:1 for example) is because calcium is stored in the body, unlike magnesium. Calcium is stored to be utilized when needed whereas magnesium is not.
On top of this magnesium is the first mineral depleted when the body is under a state of stress and it is the first mineral that is depleted to cope with any pharmaceutical drug. In other words, calcium is stored and builds up in the body and if you have any stress in your life or have ever or are on any pharmaceutical drug (either or both) then you’re most likely deficient in magnesium. 80% (probably 90% by now) of the American population is deficient in magnesium. This Ca/MG ratio is a number that can be tested in different ways such as by getting a blood test or a hair test. If you have specific symptoms or have been taking a calcium supplement for a while then the test is almost unnecessary considering the fact that the magnesium deficiency (80% chance) and excess calcium intake from the supplement if you take one do not work in your favor.
With that being said it’s important to understand how calcium can be harmful when consumed in excess. If you take a calcium supplement you most likely have excess calcium in your body, just think, your diet provides some calcium and then you may get 100% or more of your recommended daily value of calcium from the supplement. This excess intake of calcium (with a potential magnesium deficiency on top of it being probable) is bad for your health both now and long term.
The calcium to magnesium ratio is so important because magnesium is needed for the absorption of calcium as well as playing a role in other factors in the body such as over-calcification. When the body accumulates too much calicum it begins to store it, and if it can no longer store in areas that are “out of the way” it will store it in areas that become a pain to you. An example would be something like in your kidneys, where an imbalanced mineral ratio can lead to kidney stones, or in your joints where bone spurs or arthritis may occur, or even in your arteries. When the arteries buildup calcium the blood flow is decreased and this can put you at risk for cardiac events such as heart attack.
In other words, if you’re deficient in magnesium (80%+ chance as an American) then that calcium supplement is not only a waste of money but your body then begins to accumulate excess amounts of calcium that it begins to store and harm you. The body stores calcium and uses (depletes) magnesium, remember?
This is why I would estimate that a very large majority (at least 90%) of people taking magnesium supplements are not only wasting their money because the calcium is either excreted (by not being absorbed) or it’s stored and not utilized because it cannot be absorbed properly. This is a bad pattern that negatively hinders yourr CA/MG ratio which leads to other health problems.
Additionally, vitamin D is very important for the absorption of calcium. Guess what happens when your body is deficient in Vitamin D and Magnesium? Your body has an even harder time absorbing and using the calcium. This means that the calcium is either excreted out of the body (wasted) or it’s accumulated in a way that is not healthy, such as bone spurs, calcium deposits in the body etc.
In 2005 a study found that 41.6% of the American population was deficient in Vitamin D. African Americans were 82% deficient and Hispanic people were 69.2% deficient. If you factor in magnesium deficiency numbers along with vitamin D deficiency numbers you’ll find that at least 90% (if not 98%, literally) are deficient enough in one of both nutrients to hinder their calcium absorption.
It’s very difficult for the body to absorb calcium when it does not have these co-factor nutrients readily available.
So what happens? Either the calcium supplement stores calcium in your body waiting to absorb and be used (when enough vitamin D and magnesium are present) or it is excreted. Essentially you’re either harming your health by having too much calcium in your body waiting to be used or you’re excreting it in your urine. Either way, at least 9 out of 10 people are wasting money on a calcium supplement.
Taking a calcium supplement is probably the biggest waste of money in terms of health supplements. You’d be much smarter off discontinuing that and getting a good vitamin D supplement and a good magnesium supplement and then the calcium in your diet will be utilized to it’s potential in a healthy way.
If you’re deficient in calcium you need vitamin D and magnesium in your diet and/or supplement routine more importantly so that the calcium can then be fully used.
If you are already aware that you do in fact have a calcium deficiency make sure to include a magnesium supplement and vitamin D supplement along with the calcium supplement to ensure that it get’s utilized, and i’m sure you’ll see the benefits! Cheers to your health!
Recommended Reading: Vitamin D is Absorbed By Your Skin As Long As You Don’t Do This
Source: Pubmed.gov, Image: pixabay