Calcium and Magnesium For Health Prevention

Recent discoveries have shown calcium plays an integral role in regulating adiposity (fat deposition), insulin resistance, and hypertension--all risk factors for coronary vascular disease (heart disease). On average, Americans consume only 600 mg of calcium daily despite recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences for adolescents to consume 1300 mg/d and adults under age 50 to consume 1,000 mg/d, while adults over 50 should consume 1,200 mg (1). The best calcium supplement is calcium citrate, as it is most easily absorb

Food sources for Magnesium

Magnesium rich foods

All Bran

2/3 cup

191 mg

Spinach, cooked

1/ cup

158 mg

Pumpkin kernels

2 Tbsp

151 mg

Millet, cooked

1 cup

138 mg


4 oz

117 mg

Sunflower seeds

2 Tbsp

100 mg


1 oz

100 mg

Broccoli, cooked

1 cup

94 mg

Wheat germ, toasted

1/4 cup

91 mg

Blackstrap molasses

2 Tbsp

84 mg

Lentils, cooked

1 cup

71 mg

Low magnesium intake has been associated with adverse cardiovascular events, including atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension and even sudden cardiac death.. There has also been an association noted with diabetes. Severe magnesium deficiencies are reportedly rare, however certain medical conditions, such as electrolytes imbalances, diuretic therapy, malabsorption, pancreatitis, postsurgical stress, vitamin D-resistant rickets, diabetes, and parathyroid gland disorders, are associated with more acute depletions (2). Good food sources of magnesium are listed above, and include seeds, legumes, cereal grains, dark green leafy vegetables, milk and other dairy products. The best form of supplementation is magnesium glycinate, as it has the least bowel side effects.

Whereas not all evidence has been supportive, a number of clinical studies appear to support a role for adequate magnesium intake for reducing the risk for CVD. It is hypothesized that magnesium may be protective against atherosclerosis and thrombosis.

The current recommended daily intake for adult males age 19-30 is 400 mg/d and 420 mg/d for males over age 30. Adult females age 19-30 should consume 310 mg/d while females over age 30 should take in 320 mg/d (3).


  1. Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
  2. Anderson and Braun, Pathophysiology: functional alterations in human health. Lippincott Williams &Wilkins: Philadelphia, 2007.
  3. Trumbo et al, Dietary reference intakes: vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. J Am diet Assoc. 2001 Mar;101(3):294-301.