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March 28, 2018 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

You Need Magnesium for Your Vitamin D to Work

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Low levels of vitamin D are amongst the most common and concerning of all vitamin deficiencies reported in the US, affecting 50-70 percent of adults and 30 to 50 percent of youth. Sadly, low levels of vitamin D have been tied to a litany of adverse health outcomes including CV disease, cancer, metabolic dysfunction, Type 2 diabetes, and depression, among many others.

According to a recent review, this public health crisis is being compounded by yet another rampant nutrient deficiency—magnesium. Magnesium is required for the conversion of inactive vitamin D to its biologically active form, 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D. Unfortunately, because of widespread industrial agriculture and the highly-processed nature of the standard American diet, up to half of all Americans are not getting adequate levels of magnesium from the foods they eat.

The take-home message? Be sure to get optimal levels of magnesium in your diet to safeguard against the perils of vitamin D deficiency. If your magnesium levels are low, you will not have optimal levels of the active form of vitamin D in your body, no matter how much vitamin D supplements you take or get from the sun.

The mineral magnesium is involved in over 300 critical biochemical reactions in the human body, including converting vitamin D into its active form. Unfortunately, low dietary intakes of this mighty mineral are rampant. Limiting processed, industrial foods and replacing them with whole, real foods direct from Mother Earth is a wonderful start. Additionally, make note of the foods that offer the highest concentrations of this key nutrient:

  • Almonds
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal and other whole grains
  • Cashews and other nuts
  • Egg yolks
  • Fish oil
  • Flaxseed
  • All green vegetables
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet corn
  • Tofu

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 The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2018; 118 (3): 181 DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2018.037