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Vitamin D and Magnesium: Essential Partnership for Health

Wellness Resources

Many nutrients function in tandem in the body. Just like your body needs a balance with work and play, sleep and exercise, nutrients affect other nutrient functions and balance. For example, calcium and magnesium, zinc and copper, vitamin A and carotenes work together with each other. One such nutrient pair that has gotten more research recognition and understanding is vitamin D and magnesium. Both are needed as individual nutrients, but the presence or absence of one affects the other.

Vitamin D and magnesium are often substantially lacking in individuals, with such inadequacies that public health campaigns to educate on the need has occurred in many parts of the world. Replenishment of each nutrient is essential to hundreds of functions and gene signals in the body. Supplementation of each individual nutrient is essential, but scientists have recognized that if one nutrient is supplemented and the other nutrient is lacking and unrecognized, then further health challenges may occur.

In a recent publication of the Jan/Feb 2019 American Journal of Therapeutics, researchers concluded that “Magnesium is essential in the metabolism of vitamin D, and taking large doses of vitamin D can induce severe depletion of magnesium. Adequate magnesium supplementation should be considered as an important aspect of vitamin D therapy.” There is much to be learned still with this interactive pair of nutrients, but studies show a need for wise choices and balance.


Insufficient magnesium is a common concern amongst adults and children. A public health crisis was declared in 2018 due to insufficient magnesium intake. According to the 2005-2006 NHANES survey in the U.S. population, at least 50 percent of adults fail to meet the minimal RDA levels. A breakdown in statistics showed that 89 percent of teenage girls, 55-58 percent of 51 to 70-year-olds, and 70-80 percent of adults 71 years of age and older lacked adequate magnesium.

Magnesium blood tests provide almost no help in evaluation of what your body stores of magnesium actually contain. Normal serum magnesium levels may still occur even with moderate to severe depletion of body stores. The amount of magnesium found in the blood does not reflect tissue stores. Less than one percent of magnesium is found in the blood stream with the remainder stored in bones, muscles, and organs. If your serum magnesium levels are low or borderline low, your body stores are dangerously inadequate.

Magnesium is needed for heart function and rhythm, blood vessel relaxation and blood flow, cholesterol, blood sugar and cholesterol management, mitochondria and energy production, neurotransmitter production, bones, muscles, and electrolyte function. Your body requires magnesium for brain, nerve and cell membrane function and stability, mood and cognitive function, lung and respiratory function, RNA and DNA synthesis, gene expression, cell signaling, immune function, ovaries and more. Magnesium is critical to life and essential for hormonal activation of vitamin D.

You can read further about magnesium in the articles Insufficient Magnesium – Public Health Crisis Declared and Magnesium: A Notable Mineral Essential for Life.

Vitamin D

The vast majority of the U.S. population also lacks vitamin D. According to the NHANES 2003-2006 studies, an amazing 70 percent of U.S. residents failed to obtain the estimated average requirement of vitamin D. More recent information shows that about 75 percent of all adults worldwide have insufficient vitamin D levels (serum 25(OH)) of less 30ng/mL.

Vitamin D influences bone density and strength, muscle development, cell growth, balance and coordination. Vitamin D receptors are located throughout the immune system found on all immune cells, macrophages, T and B cells, etc.

Vitamin D helps keep the heart and lungs strong, supports blood flow, insulin and pancreatic function. Thyroid hormone along with cognitive function, mood, and nerve support require vitamin D. It activates thousands of gene signals in your body and helps slow unhealthy rapid cell growth. Longevity is associated with adequate vitamin D.