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Everything You Need to Know About Calcium and Magnesium

by Carly Neubert, BA, NC on March 27, 2024

Minerals are elements that we can find in and on the Earth, in our foods and our bodies. Our bodies need them to function and develop properly. There are two types of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur. These types are needed in larger amounts. Trace minerals, however, are needed in smaller amounts. Trace minerals include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, selenium, and fluoride. This article will focus on two macrominerals - calcium and magnesium. These are two minerals that we see quite a bit in supplements that are readily available today.  

Calcium is usually connected to milk and healthy bones. We are told from an early age to drink milk so that our bones and teeth can be strong. However, calcium has some more important jobs to do in the body!

Calcium plays a role in muscle contraction, regulating heart rhythms, nerve function, and blood clots. Quite the variety, right? In order for our bodies to keep up with all these functions, we need a consistent amount of calcium in our blood (1%) and tissues (99%). 

While calcium is generally thought of to be in milk and other dairy foods, it can actually be found in many other foods. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are great options. As are beans and nuts. Almonds, a great option for a snack, are also good sources of calcium. 

Magnesium can be found in many forms. Magnesium has an important role in helping 300+ enzymes carry out different actions in the body. Without enough magnesium in your body, those actions can’t happen. It is stored in bones and in tissues throughout your body. Some of the functions that magnesium assists with include regulating blood sugar, muscle function, nerve function, and building strong bones. Studies have reported associations between a high magnesium diet and high bone density.

Magnesium is also found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Peanut butter, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, and cooked spinach are all great options for magnesium-rich foods. 

Magnesium and Mental Health

If you want to start a love affair with magnesium, visit Dr. Carolyn Dean’s website and read her short book about magnesium. She estimates that 70% of the population is magnesium deficient because of our modern lifestyle and farming practices.  She references over 100 disease states that are caused, at least in part, by magnesium deficiency.  Her research correlates a strong link between low magnesium and anxiety. Check out my blogs about Sugar and Magnesium and my Magnesium guide to get started on increasing your magnesium levels. 

Calcium and Magnesium FAQs

Is it good to take magnesium every day?

It is possible to get enough calcium and magnesium through diet alone, but many people do not eat enough vegetables, seeds, or nuts. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in the US, the tolerable upper limit is 350mg per day for magnesium found in supplements. However, many people are so deficient in magnesium that they can tolerate and benefit from higher doses. While once we could rely on many vegetables to provide magnesium, we don’t have that luxury anymore. Studies show that the soils in which we grow our vegetables are too acidic and lacking in magnesium because of current farming and pesticide practices. 

Is it good to take calcium every day?

Calcium supplements can be beneficial for those who do not get enough calcium through their diets. How much calcium you take via supplements depends on your age and sex. The recommended upper limit according to Mayo Clinic is 2,500mg a day for adults 19-50. For adults 50+, this number decreases to 2,000mg. Many processed foods and dairy are fortified with calcium. Most people will benefit from more magnesium than calcium supplements. Research recommends a 1:2 ratio in supplementing with Calcium and Magnesium. Its important to monitor calcium intake. As with anything, too much is not necessarily helpful. Too much calcium can be relatively dangerous and cause joint and heart issues. 

Who should not take magnesium?

Too much magnesium can cause loose bowels. Avoid magnesium supplements if you have diarrhea. 

How do you know if your magnesium is low?

Symptoms of low magnesium include: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Muscle Cramps 
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Asthma
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Lack of Emotion (apathy)
  • Risk of Depression
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Poor Memory (or loss of memory)
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Vomiting

Why should I take magnesium at night?

Research shows that people with higher levels of magnesium sleep better, longer and are less tired during the day. Magnesium glycinate is especially helpful to help you fall asleep. Magnesium glycinate is a magnesium molecule bound to a glycine molecule.  Both magnesium and glycine have been thoroughly studied and proven to help you fall asleep. 

How can I increase my calcium naturally?

 I recommend sardines, white beans, kale, almonds and figs to increase calcium intake.  Many dairy foods are fortified with calcium and can also be inflammatory to your digestive system. 

What causes low calcium levels? 

High intake of processed foods and low intake of vegetables can cause low levels of calcium. Additionally, parathyroid or kidney issues can be the source of low calcium.  

What is magnesium is good for?

Is it good to take magnesium every day? Yes, your body uses magnesium every and so you need magnesium intake every day. Magnesium is important to over 300 functions that involve blood sugar, mood, muscles, nerves, heart, bones, headaches, PMS, sleep, and your eyes.  

What happens to your body when you take magnesium?  Different forms of magnesium affect various symptoms and areas of your body. Download my magnesium supplement guide to find the right form of magnesium for your health goals. 

What are the 3 main functions of magnesium in the body?

The 3 main functions of magnesium are to maintain nerve, muscle, and heart function.

What food is highest in magnesium?

Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, and cooked spinach are all great options for magnesium-rich foods. 

What fruit is highest in magnesium?

Tamarinds, prickly pears, and yellow plantains have the highest amount of magnesium of all fruits.

What food is highest in calcium?

Foods with the highest amounts of natural calcium are seeds, cheese, yogurt, sardines, salmon, beans, lentils, almonds, and leafy greens. Many dairy foods including cheese and yogurt have natural calcium and are also fortified with calcium. 

What are 10 benefits of calcium?

  1. Builds bones
  2. Builds strong teeth
  3. Balances with magnesium to control muscle contraction
  4. Assists nerves in sending signals
  5. Prevents osteoporosis 
  6. Balances blood pressure
  7. Supports memory and brain health
  8. Important for pregnancy and growing fetus
  9. Supports healthy cholesterol levels
  10. Supports colon health 

What are the 5 major functions of calcium?

  1. Builds strong bones and teeth
  2. Assists with blood clotting
  3. Allows nerves to signal
  4. Supports muscle contraction including heartbeat
  5. Important for releasing hormones and other natural chemical messengers

How can I increase my calcium naturally?

Eating seeds, eggs, cheese, yogurt, sardines, salmon, beans, lentils, almonds, and leafy greens will naturally increase your calcium levels. 

Are bananas full of calcium?

No bananas are low in calcium. Figs, raisins, apricots, oranges, berries, kiwi, pineapple and papaya all have high levels of calcium. 

What are 3 calcium-rich foods?

Seeds, sardines, and beans are the foods with the highest amount of natural calcium. Many dairy foods are fortified with calcium and are considered high in calcium.

Which fruit is richest in calcium?

Figs have the highest amount of natural calcium of all fruits.

Are eggs high in calcium?

Eggs are naturally high in phosphorus, calcium and potassium. 

What snack is high in calcium?

Almonds, figs, and eggs are popular snacks that are high in calcium. 

Recommended supplements 

Cal/Mag Citrate

This product by Douglas Labs is an equal blend of calcium with magnesium to create a formula that supports healthy bones. 

It contains 240mg of Calcium Citrate and 240mg of Magnesium Citrate. 

One of the most important elements of a formula to look into is its bioavailability. Calcium citrate has been reported to be highly absorbed by the body.  All forms of magnesium are fairly bioavailable and loose bowels will occur if you take too much at one time.

The recommended adult dosage is 3 capsules daily.  It is best taken with meals to increase absorption and avoid digestive symptoms. 


MineralPlex is one of Numedica’s multimineral formulas. While calcium and magnesium are included, many other minerals are in the formula as well. 

The forms of calcium in this formula include:

  • Di-calcium malate
  • Calcium bisglycinate chelate

The forms of magnesium in this formula include:

  • Di-magnesium Malate
  • Magnesium lysinate glycinate chelate

The suggested use is four capsules per day. 


Margaret R. uses MineralPlex and says:

“This is a company I’ve grown to depend upon for top quality supplements and excellent service. I tried to eliminate MineralPlex from my morning routine and found it’s necessary for my energy and well-being! This is a keeper!”

Cheryl L. uses MineralPlex and says:

“Great product! Love this mineral complex!”

Calcium-Magnesium Malate

Thorne’s formula, Calcium-Magnesium Malatehas highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium. 

The form of calcium in this formula is Calcium malate. For magnesium, Thorne used Magnesium malate. 

The suggested use is 1 capsule three times daily. 

Check out my magnesium supplement guide for info on each form of magnesium supplements.

Concluding Thoughts

Calcium and Magnesium are very common mineral ingredients, whether it be in a multivitamin, multimineral, or specialized formulation. Because these are so widely used, it is important that you know why they are used, what purpose they serve, and how you can benefit. If you have any questions about calcium and magnesium balance and how it can benefit you, Schedule a consult with me, Carly Neubert BA, NC.