It is a common believe that calcium-rich foods are the key to improved bone density and overall bone health, but does that theory really hold in practice?
According to a recent study, the key to stronger and healthier bones can actually be magnesium, which is commonly found in sesame seeds, spinach, broccoli, basil and sunflower seeds.
Looking Critically At Calcium
According to several studies, elevated levels of calsium and the use of calcium supplement are associated with a greater risk for heart attacks, especially in women.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that calcium supplement are a poor substitute for dietary calcium, and too much calcium supplement is directly related to kidney stones and other health issues.
Most calcium supplements and pasteurized milk contain calcium carbonate which is difficult for the body to absorb without chelating agent like citiric acid.
According to one study conducted in 2007, calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in postmenopausal women.
Baylor College of Medicine conducted a study with Abrams as the head of the study and he focused on the intake and absorption of magnesium during childhood. The results amazed them because they showed that while calcium intake and absorption was not significantly associated with the total bone mineral content and bone density, magnesium intake and absorption clearly was.
“Dietary magnesium intake may be an important, relatively unrecognized, factor in bone mineral accretion in children,” the researchers revealed.
“Lots of nutrients are key for children to have healthy bones. One of these appears to be magnesium,” said Abrams. “Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.”
The researcher were concerned about the fact that calcium intake is widely promoted for better bone health, and on the other hand, other relevant minerals like magnesium were going relatively unremarked on. They suggested that parents should give plenty of magnesium to their children for healthier bone growth. Moreover, they want people to be more aware of the important role of magnesium when it comes to bone health.
Magnesium beside being important for children, it is also extremely important for elderly who are at risk for bone fractures. According to a report by Kathryn M. Ride and colleagues from the University of Memphis, Tennessee, elderly people should be getting plenty of magnesium as well.
Historically, the ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet appears to be a 1:1 ratio. Even a ratio of 2:1 is adequate; sadly, nowadays the diets contain a calcium to magnesium ratio closer to 10:1, which means that we incorporate ten times more calcium than magnesium.
There are many magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, cacao, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Epsom salt, which is made of magnesium sulfate, can also be added to a hot bath and absorbed through your skin.
The best way to get magnesium is to incorporate it through food, naturally, but there are many people that are deficient in this mineral, so they may also want to consider taking magnesium supplement. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 350-400 mg per day – and most magnesium capsules contain between 250 and 500 mg of magnesium, and can be taken with meals or on an empty stomach.
It is very tricky to measure the levels of magnesium because only a tiny fraction of your body’s magnesium is stored in the blood, and when that leves drops, your body naturally takes magnesium from your bones and tissue to replenish that level. As a result, the blood test may show normal reading of magnesium levels, but your body could still be deficient in the mineral.
Make sure that magnesium is a regular part of your diet, no matter whether you take it from a dietary supplement or from food.