A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has highlighted the importance of magnesium for optimising vitamin D in the body, suggesting the nutrients work together to boost your health.
Magnesium deficiency is an under-recognised issue
The findings published in this latest study are particularly poignant given the fact that 80% of US adults are not getting enough magnesium in their diet.
Martha shrubsole, research professor of medine at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center commented:
"Vitamin D insufficiency is something that has been recognised as a potential health problem on a fairly large scale in the US."
"A lot of people have received recommendations from their health care providers to take vitamin D supplements to increase their levels based upon their blood tests. In addition to vitamin D, magnesium deficiency is an under-recognised issue."
Hundreds of bodily processes rely on magnesium
A large number of processes and biochemical reactions within the body rely on magnesium - these include the maintenance of normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a steady heart rhythm, supporting a healthy immune system and keeping bones strong. Bloody sugar management and health blood pressure also require adequate magnesium levels.
The double blind randomised controlled trial involved participants aged between 40 and 85. They were given either a placebo or magnesium supplements. The results showed that the impact of magnesium was dependent on the initial levels of vitamin D. If vitamin D levels were close to insufficient or lower then magnesium supplementation increased vitamin D levels. However if vitamin D levels were sufficient or higher then magnesium was found to decrease vitamin D levels - this was particularly evident when vitamin D levels were at the higher end of the range.
Magnesium may affect both vitamin D activating and deactivating enzymes
The exact mechanism for this is not yet clear but one possible explanation is that magnesium supplementation affects both vitamin D activating enzymes and vitamin D deactivating enzymes.
Our bodies do make vitamin D on skin's exposure to the sun but in northern hemisphere countries the levels of sunshine during the winter months is so low that our bodies make no vitamin D at all. This means that dietary supplements and fortified foods are considered by many as the best way to boost vitamin D intakes.