Calcium is a hot debate in the supplement world, especially as it pertains to the "correct" calcium-to-magnesium ratio.
We chat with Natural Vitality President Ken Whitman to get his take on the calcium-magnesium balance.
newhope360: We’ve been seeing more published studies that raise questions about possible health risks from calcium supplementation. What is Natural Vitality doing in terms of education about rethinking the typical 2:1 calcium-magnesium balance?
Ken Whitman: The idea of a 2:1 calcium-to-magnesium ratio traces back to French scientist Dr. Jean Durlach, who stipulated the 2:1 ratio as an outermost, not-to-be-exceeded level. This has been largely misunderstood as a recommendation of a 2:1 calcium-to-magnesium imbalance.
The high-calcium, low-magnesium diet of most Americans, coupled with calcium supplements, can lead to an even greater imbalance of 4:1, 5:1 or more. The fact that calcium supplements outsell magnesium supplements by 10 to 1 should give you an idea of how serious this problem is.
Natural Vitality, along with a large number of experts, has been talking for many years about the need to balance calcium intake with magnesium.
The interaction of calcium and magnesium at a cellular level makes magnesium crucial to health and wellbeing. Calcium excites nerves and is necessary for muscle contraction. Magnesium, on the other hand, calms nerves and is needed for muscle relaxation. When a cell is at rest, magnesium is on the inside and calcium is on the outside. When a cell is active, calcium flows into the cell and magnesium moves out.
An imbalance with too much calcium and not enough magnesium is like having a light switch that won’t turn off. Even as you try to relax or sleep, current continues to flow, leaving nerves partially excited and muscles tense; you feel stressed and can’t get a good night’s sleep. This is the result of calcium-magnesium imbalance at a cellular level.
The majority of people (80 percent of men and 70 percent of women) are not getting their minimum daily requirement of magnesium.
Natural Vitality recommends a 1:1 ratio or slightly more magnesium than calcium to account for dietary calcium intake.
For more on supplements, including the whole food supplement trend, read the rest of our conversation with Ken Whitman.