Magnesium for Bone Health

Calcium is crucial to bone health, but it can't do its job without magnesium.

magnesium supplements

Clinical studies confirm the role and critical importance of magnesium in the diet.

© Kasia Biel |

We know that calcium is crucial to bone health, but it can’t do its job without magnesium. Without magnesium, the body cannot:

  • Adequately absorb calcium
  • Stimulate calcitonin, a hormone that draws calcium from the blood and tissues back into the bones.
  • Suppress parathyroid, another hormone that breaks down bone
  • Convert vitamin D into its active form for calcium absorption
  • Activate an enzyme required for new bone to form
  • Regulate calcium transport

Clinical studies confirm the role and critical importance of magnesium in the diet. In one clinical study, 32 post menopausal women took 250 to 750 mg of magnesium per day for two years. Bone mineral density increased by 1 to 8% in nearly 75% of cases. (Vikhanski 1993).

The Relaxation Mineral

Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, cramping, or stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency. Eye twitches, nighttime muscle cramps, heart palpitations, constipation, anxiety, stiff blood vessels, kidney stones, high blood pressure – ALL can be helped by adequate stores of magnesium in your body. And for bone health – this critical mineral is  responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain.

How Do I Know If I’m Deficient in Magnesium?

In addition to the conditions show above, do you have any of the following?

Each one of these conditions has magnesium deficiency as a likely contributing cause. It’s been estimated that up to 80 percent of the population is deficient in this important mineral, according to Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, and author of The Miracle of Magnesium. Further, there has been no lab test that will give an accurate reading of the magnesium status in your tissues. Only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a sample of magnesium from a blood test often highly inaccurate.

How to Get Enough Magnesium

The richest food sources of magnesium are nuts, seeds, legumes, green leafy vegetables like kale and collards, whole grains and avocados. But most people are so deficient in this critical mineral that oral magnesium in the form of a supplement will likely be required. The way to prevent a deficiency is to keep up a continuous high intake of magnesium – for life! Don’t get behind the eight ball on this one. The stakes are too high. If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, make sure you are getting from your supplement 250 mg to 750 mg per day. If you eat regularly a lot of the magnesium rich foods, you’ll probably only need to supplement at the lower end of the range. If not, supplement the full 750 mg per day. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate, taurate, or aspartate so try to find these forms of magnesium in your supplements. Don’t worry about overdosing – too much magnesium results in diarrhea which will tell you to back off the dosage just a little.

Even the stodgy scientists agree on this one: “It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such an inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world.” (Johnson, S. et al. 2001). You can avoid that suffering by making sure you have enough of the amazing mineral – Magnesium!

For more information about magnesium and its benefits, check out these articles:


  • Vikhanski L. Magnesium may slow bone loss. Med Tribune, 1993 July 22;(9)
  • Johnson. S. et al. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. Med Hypotheses 2001. 56(2):163-70

Originally published in 2015 and updated.

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