Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D
Our bodies need calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.
The body also needs calcium for:
- muscle movement helping nerves to carry messages between the brain and body
- helping blood vessels move blood throughout the body
- helping release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body
To absorb calcium in the body, it must be in balance with magnesium and vitamin D. The most effective way to meet your daily calcium needs is to consume foods rich in calcium and magnesium. Dairy accounts for the majority of calcium intake in the American diet, particularly in the form of milk. However, you may be surprised at the variety of foods that are high in calcium. Here are some of them that you might consider adding to your diet:
- Sesame seeds
- Sardines with bones
- High quality yogurt
- Leafy greens including collard, kale, turnip, mustard and swiss chard
- Canned sockeye salmon with bones
- Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussel sprout, cabbage
- Spices and herbs: cinnamon, cumin, cloves, black pepper, parsley, garlic
Calcium and magnesium work hand in hand in the body and must be in balance for proper absorption.
Foods high in magnesium
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
- Leafy Greens
- Sea vegetables (seaweed)
- Wild Caught seafood
- Grass-fed dairy
Vitamin D is also critical for the absorption of calcium. The best and most affordable source is the sunshine so get outdoors and show some skin. For more information on Vitamin D, click here.
To work towards balancing your mineral intake with whole foods, certified nutritionists are a good resource.
Lifestyle factors that deplete minerals and can lead to osteoporosis
- poor gut health
- hormonal imbalances
- lack of appropriate exercise
- lack of exposure to sunlight
- certain medications
- chronic stress
- smoking and excessive alcohol use
- inflammatory diet
- lack of restful sleep
In addition to osteoporosis, calcium deficiency can lead to periodontal disease, insomnia, and muscle cramps.
**If you choose to supplement with over the counter calcium, please note that excess calcium can lead to mineral imbalances. Please consult a healthcare practitioner for individualized dosing.