Intake of vitamin D and magnesium is important for health. But what should you pay attention to? And do the two work together?
There are several ways to do something for your health. For example, sporting activities, conscious eating and sufficient sleep, as well as recovery periods. A study carried out in the USA recently revealed eight factors that supposedly help people live longer.
But what are the effects of taking nutritional supplements? This text is specifically about vitamin D, which increases the chance of surviving cancer, and magnesium. You can find out how the two work together at the end of the article.
Vitamin D: what’s behind it?
According to the Federal Ministry of Health Vitamin D “the collective name for calciferols, a group of soluble solids Vitamins“. When exposed to sunlight, the human body produces vitamin D. It is also contained in foods such as fatty fish, offal, eggs, edible mushrooms and cod liver oil, but only in small quantities.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) lists vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) as the most important forms. Basically, vitamin D is involved in bone metabolism. Among other things, it promotes “the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the intestine and their incorporation into the bones”. It is also said to play a “fundamental role in bone mineralization”.
According to the RKI, vitamin D also plays a role in “other metabolic processes, the formation of proteins and the control of a large number of genes”. 80 to 90 percent of the vitamin is produced by the body itself in the skin. Since this happens through sunlight, you need to stay outdoors. The remaining ten to 20 percent comes from your diet. By the way: a deficiency can lead to depressive mood.
Magnesium: what’s behind it?
The Federal Ministry of Health reports that magnesium is “important for muscle, nervous and bone metabolism”. Unlike vitamin D, the body cannot produce magnesium on its own, which is why it must be consumed through food. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, athletes and people with certain previous illnesses have a greater need.
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Magnesium is in accordance with the Carlos Lauterbach (SPD) “contained in many plant foods”. Larger amounts can be found “in nuts and oilseeds, green vegetables, legumes and whole grains.”
Vitamin D: How does a deficiency occur and what effects does it have?
Especially in northern regions, there is a lack of sunlight in the winter months to be able to absorb enough vitamin D. In this case, the RKI says that “UV-B radiation with a wavelength of 290 nm to 315 nm is required” and that this “only occurs throughout the year in regions below the 35th parallel”.
In Germany, “educating your own body is only possible between March and October, when you spend time outdoors”. Furthermore, “UV-B radiation can be reduced by more than 90%, even in the summer months, due to unfavorable weather conditions, for example when there is strong cloud cover.”
Factors include “age, skin color and body weight, as well as modern lifestyle influences.” According to the RKI, vitamin D deficiency can also lead to “chronic gastrointestinal, liver or kidney diseases”. Medications such as antiepileptics or cystostatics can also impair vitamin D metabolism.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the following symptoms may indicate vitamin D deficiency:
- Bone pain
- Deformities of bones, especially ribs, legs and spine
- Broken bones
- Swelling at the junction of cartilage and bone
- Smoothing the back of the head
- Delayed fontanelle closure in young children
- Muscle weakness
- Susceptibility to infections
Magnesium: How does a deficiency occur and what effects does it have?
Magnesium deficiency can arise “as a result of an unbalanced diet or kidney disease”, writes the Federal Ministry of Health. Severe diarrhea can also be a trigger because even then there is a risk of not absorbing enough magnesium or of excrete too much magnesium.
The human body has mechanisms that prevent the excretion of too much magnesium. However, due to a genetic defect, this regulatory mechanism does not function properly in very few people, “for example, in Gitelman syndrome – a rare hereditary kidney disease”.
Furthermore, magnesium balance can also be negatively influenced by diseases such as diabetes mellitus, inflammation of the pancreas, chronic intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or thyroid diseases such as underactive parathyroid glands.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, magnesium deficiency can also be due to high alcohol consumption. There is also a greater need due to stress, sport or pregnancy.
Symptoms often only become apparent when the deficiency is severe. Furthermore, the symptoms are not always clear and can also be interpreted as “signs of other diseases”. Casa Lauterbach lists the following symptoms:
- Muscle cramps and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
- Drop in body temperature and frequent freezing
- accelerated heart
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Digestive problems
Vitamin D and magnesium: how do they work together?
As the German Nutrition Society (DGE) reports when asked, vitamin D fundamentally supports the absorption of magnesium in the intestine. It is also true that a sufficient level of vitamin D can improve magnesium absorption. However, it should be noted: “In our opinion, this is no reason to consume dietary supplements with these nutrients without reservation”.
The importance of vitamin D for magnesium homeostasis (body balance) is unclear. Some studies show that exogenous intake – that is, from the outside – increases the rate of magnesium absorption. Furthermore, vitamin D administration appears to be associated with increased renal excretion (through the kidneys). Consequently, it cannot be said with certainty whether magnesium balance is positively influenced.
There is a warning against excessive intake of vitamin D and magnesium through dietary supplements. If reference values are exceeded, this may have negative effects. For vitamin D, the daily requirement is 20 micrograms per day. With regard to magnesium, the reference value increases with increasing age: from 24 milligrams per day in the first four months to 80 milligrams up to one year of age, from the age of ten with differences for girls and boys, and finally from the age of 19,350 milligrams per day for men and 300 milligrams for women.
According to the DGE, a medication or illness can also influence the interaction of vitamin D and magnesium, although it is advisable to consult a nutritionist. It should be noted that taking medications and dietary supplements at the same time should generally be avoided. A safe distance of at least one to two hours must be maintained.