Have you ever wondered why some things just seem to go together, like milk and cookies or peanut butter and jelly? While you can use any of them individually, they just work better together. Another perfect pair you might not be aware of is vitamin D and magnesium! While you likely know the benefits of taking vitamin D, did you know that it may work better when taken with magnesium?
In fact, vitamin D and magnesium do more than just work better together; your body actually requires one to fully use the other. This makes it necessary to ensure that you’re getting both, in the correct form and amounts, for your body to fully use these vital nutrients.
How Vitamin D and Magnesium Work Together
Vitamin D is fat-soluble and plays many important roles in the body. It helps us build and maintain healthy bones by regulating calcium and phosphorus. It has also been shown to support our immune systems and help reduce inflammation. Our body makes some vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but we also get it from the foods we eat.
When you take vitamins, your body must be able to use them to be beneficial to you, which may seem like an obvious statement, but if a vitamin relies on a mineral (like magnesium) for absorption, and your body is short on supply of magnesium ... you can see where this could lead to problems.
The term bioavailability is the rate and extent to which a vitamin or mineral can be absorbed by the body. The bioavailability of vitamin D is strongly reliant on magnesium. This is because vitamin D must be converted to an active form in order to be used by the body. This conversion relies on enzymes in the liver and kidneys to take place, but those enzymes can’t function without magnesium.
So, without sufficient levels of magnesium, the enzymes to convert vitamin D into a usable form may not work, and your body may be left with vitamin D it can’t do anything with. Unabsorbed vitamin D may cause problems, including vitamin D toxicity. This can be quite damaging and includes bone pain, kidney stones and related kidney issues.
Which Form of Vitamin D Should You Take?
Now that it’s clear why vitamin D and magnesium should be taken together, we still need to consider which forms of each you might want to take. There are two types of vitamin D: D2 and D3. You produce vitamin D3 when your skin is exposed to sunlight, but it is also found in some animal-based foods. Vitamin D2 is the type found in plants.
While both forms of D are beneficial, there is a key difference in how effective your body is at using them. Studies suggest that vitamin D3 may be more effective at raising the levels of vitamin D in the body. This indicates that taking a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement could be the best way to boost D levels, especially one that includes magnesium.
Which Form of Magnesium Should You Take?
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that plays a pivotal role in hundreds of chemical reactions throughout the body. It is important for nerve and muscle function, energy levels, heart function, blood pressure and many more critical processes. There are different forms available, but magnesium glycinate is more readily absorbed than other types. It also doesn’t upset your stomach or cause the side effects other forms can, like stomach cramps and diarrhea.
How much vitamin D and magnesium should you take every day? Follow the advice of a licensed medical practitioner and the dosage instructions on any over-the-counter supplements or medications. Talk to your prescribing physician or pharmacist if you take any other medications, to ensure that your supplements don't interfere with prescriptions.*
Food Versus Supplements
While it can be a real challenge to get everything you need through diet alone, eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods is always beneficial. Fortunately, there are some good food sources for both vitamin D3 and magnesium, including:
Vitamin D3 rich foods:
- Egg yolks
- Fish oil
- Liver & organ meats
- Fatty fish (i.e.Salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel)
Magnesium rich foods:
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts)
- Beans or legumes (lentils, soybeans, black beans)
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens)
- Brown rice
- Seeds, with pumpkin and chia being highest
Of course, taking high quality supplements with a balanced diet may be the best strategy for meeting your daily intake of vitamins. Supplements may help you get enough nutrition and provide the right combination of nutrients to boost absorption and effectiveness. The key is to buy high-quality vitamins formulated for maximum bioavailability. For instance, you can take a vitamin D3 supplement that includes magnesium glycinate to enhance effectiveness. This takes the guesswork out of trying to combine vitamins on your own, and is more cost-effective than buying vitamins individually.
*The information in this article and throughout Trio Nutrition’s blog is for informational purposes only, and should never be mistaken for professional medical advice.