Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Magnesium Levels Aid in Vitamin D Status

foods that contain magnesium

Collection of dietary intake data can be challenging with the potential of errors in validity and reliability. Nutritional assessments are important to determine dietary strategies. There are limitations with these methodologies as not all nutrients have reliable markers of status.


Randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center indicates magnesium optimizes vitamin D status raising it in people with deficits and lowering levels in those that are elevated. This study helped to validate a prior study that associated low magnesium levels with low vitamin D as well. It also showed magnesium levels had a regulating effect on people with other conditions such as diabetes. This was the first study to show this connection. The researchers became interested in the relationship between vitamin D and magnesium when they noted in people with low vitamin levels, there was no improvement even with an increase in the amount of supplementation was given. They found that when the person has magnesium deficiency it shuts down synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D (Dai et al, 2018).

Magnesium is a critical mineral in the human body. It is involved in approximately 80% of known metabolic functions. Magnesium deficiency can be attributed to things like hypertension, diabetes, and neurological disorders. On average 60% of adults don’t get the average dietary intake and 45% of Americans are deficient. Despite this importance magnesium remains one of the most misunderstood. Hypomagnesaemia can affect calcium & potassium transport, cell signaling, energy metabolism, genome stability, DNA repair and replication, and is now found to have a hand in some serious diseases including several neurological disorders. In order to conduct further study magnesium and its effects on the body, an unambiguous magnesium biomarker needs to be identified and validated in order to have studies that are worth exploring. A new approach to measuring proper magnesium levels is needed to further sensitize clinicians to consideration of supplemental magnesium when presented with a low vitamin D; especially one that is resistant to increased supplementation of vitamin D₃ (Workinger, 2018).

Sources for these substances
Milk fortified is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Not all parts of our world unfortunately, have access to this fortified milk and have associated deficiencies. Recent studies done in Sweden showed that increase intake of milk actually had an opposite effect; including increase in mortality. This study raised several issues. The highest relative risks in women over 50 when the study started were followed for 20 years and were found to be at risk for co-morbidities, prone to dietary changes pursuant to age, loss of spouse, and changes in living arrangements. Large cohort studies are needed to be done to provide valuable information on diet/disease relationships. Validated measurements should be utilized and a detailed assessment of cofounders including vitamin D status are needed to answer important questions related to milk intake and effects on mortality (Sahni et al, 2017).

Even though there are few studies done to validate the safety of a vegan diet, there are problems with it and remaining healthy. There is a need to find methods of maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium, and iodine in addition to necessary fatty acids that are not able to be found in a plant based diet. Most of these elements are, in fact, missing from plant-based sources. One major concern when women athletes follow this dietary plan is they become at risk for developing low bone-mineral density and are at risk for fractures. It can also affect the immunity making the person more susceptible to illnesses. While these diets tend to be lower in calories, attention must be paid to ensure there are proper levels of these elements and minerals in the persons diet (Rogerson, 2017).

What happens with not enough?
Vitamin D inadequacy is a recognized increasing issue among Saudi populations especially females. Insulin dependent diabetes accounts for 90% of diabetes in children. Recent studies have found an appealing connection between vitamin D and diabetes. In the Middle East a disproportionate number of girls are found to be deficient in vitamin D. A large part of this is due to the cultural tendency to have their skin completely covered from sun exposure. This issue with low vitamin D in Saudi children will increase even with supplementation unless these children are able to have contact with sunlight (Al-Ghamdi et al, 2017).

Results from this study suggest that a relatively straight forward preventative health program that provides nutritional supplementation may have the potential to reduce the risk of diabetes and improve glycemic status in individuals at risk. This study also showed supplementing vitamin D₃ contributed to reduced rate of increase of HbA1C. Several studies showed vitamins D, C, and E play roles in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation resulting in improved insulin sensitivity. There were limitations to this study. There was no way to elucidate which nutrients were exactly responsible for the effect on HbA1C improvement (Kimbrell et al, 2017).

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

Nutrients act in a way to maintain physiologic cellular and tissue functions and their dysregulation can adversely affect organ functions. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It serves as a cofactor or activator in more than 600 enzymes and influences extracellular calcium levels. Magnesium is a difficult process to get an actual level as when the magnesium in the intracellular spaces begins to fall; the body draws magnesium from other sources so may give a false level. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to metabolic, skeletal, respiratory illness and neurologic anomalies. While these studies have shown promise, more work needs to be done especially in the field of endocrinology to validate the effects vitamin D and magnesium have on diabetes (Razzaque, 2018).

Works Cited
Al-Ghamdi, A. H. et al. (2017). High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Saudi children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes in Albaha region, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Science,12(1).

Dai, Q. et al. (2018). Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status. Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Kimbrell, S. M. et al. (2017). Effects of a vitamin and mineral supplementation on glycemic status: Results from community-based program. Journal of Clinical & Translational Endocrinology.

Razzaque, M.S. (2018). Magnesium, are we consuming enough? Nutrients, 10(12).

Rogerson, D. (2017). vegan diets: Practical advice for athletes and exercisers. Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Sahni, S., Soedamah-Muthu, S.S. & Weaver, C.M. (2017). Higher milk intake increases fracture risk: Confounding or true association? Osteoporosis International.

Workinger, J.L. et al. (2018). Challenges in the diagnosis of Magnesium status. Nutrients, 10 (9).