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Make sure you get enough of this mineral. It makes calcium more effective.

Last month, I explained how calcium can be harmful if you don't get enough magnesium along with it. And although most doctors recommend it, twice as much calcium as magnesium is the wrong balance. So is taking 1,500 mg of calcium. The truth is most women in the U.S. have their calcium and magnesium intake way out of balance. As a result, our osteoporosis rates are skyrocketing.

In this issue, I'm going to show you how to get your body back in balance. And I'm going to show you how much calcium and magnesium you should take each day.

The reason most women are out of balance is because their magnesium levels are very low. And the reason we're low might surprise you.

Our national obsession with weight is at least partially responsible for much of our magnesium deficiency. Many women boosted their diet with fat-free dairy products, including milk and yogurt. This sounds like a good idea. But it's not. Increasing your intake of dairy will almost always upset your body's balance of calcium and magnesium. Here's why:

Dairy products contain nine times as much calcium as magnesium. If you've been eating a lot of dairy, with few or no whole grains and beans (which are rich in magnesium), you have upset your calcium/magnesium ratio even further.

What's worse, the high protein content of dairy, especially when added to other high protein animal products, can pull calcium out of your bones.

Because we've eaten so much dairy and so few grains and beans, our bodies have come to need as much magnesium as calcium--or even more magnesium.

Let me give you an example of the magnitude of this problem. You would have to eat three cups of brown rice every day to compensate for the calcium in one small serving of yogurt. Since white rice has most of its magnesium removed, you would need to eat 10 cups of rice to balance one portion of a calcium-rich food.

How to restore your balance

To restore your balance, begin by increasing your consumption of whole grains and beans, which are naturally high in magnesium. These include brown rice, millet, buckwheat, and quinoa, garbanzos, black beans, lentils, split peas, and edamame (green soy beans).

Reduce your consumption of refined sugar and alcohol to prevent the excretion of magnesium in your urine. And take a good look at how much dairy you eat daily. Limit it to one serving a day.

Keep your total animal protein intake low. A diet high in phosphorous--a mineral found in animal protein--can cause your magnesium levels to be too low. Vegetable protein (grains with beans) helps maintain calcium levels.

If you've been taking calcium and magnesium supplements containing more calcium than magnesium, stop taking them. You most likely need less calcium and more magnesium.

Just how much magnesium?

According to the late Dr. Mildred Seelig, one of the world's foremost authorities on magnesium, adults on a good diet should take between 700 and 800 mg of magnesium supplements each day. This is considerably more than the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) of 350 mg for women of all ages.

What it comes down to is that the more calcium you get, the more magnesium you need. Guy E Abraham, MD, a research gynecologist and endocrinologist in Torrance, California, proved this. He gave postmenopausal women 200 to 1,000 mg of magnesium a day to strengthen their bones. Each woman took magnesium to bowel tolerance - enough to cause soft stools, but not diarrhea. These women showed an average increase in bone density of 11% in one year! This is more than any osteoporosis drug.

Can you take too much magnesium? It's unlikely, says Melvyn R Werbach, MD, author of Nutritional Influences on Illness, a reference book for doctors and integrative health practitioners. His extensive research has not found any side effects--other than loose stools--from amounts totaling 1,000 mg in supplement form.

The only blood test that accurately measures magnesium is Red Blood Cell (RBC) magnesium. Not all labs perform this test, and it tends to be expensive--more than $100. Magnesium, on the other hand, is cheap and safe. For this reason, I suggest you take magnesium to bowel tolerance. Take any form of magnesium except magnesium oxide, which tends to be irritating.

My suggestion is to take just 500 mg each of calcium and magnesium in supplements, like you can find in Healthy Resolve (800-791-3395) and get the rest from your diet. Dietary calcium is much better absorbed than calcium pills. Eat a diet rich in magnesium and then take additional magnesium supplementation if needed.

It doesn't surprise me to see that many people with a magnesium deficiency are also constipated. Increasing magnesium solves multiple problems at once. For many women, getting sufficient magnesium is the missing link to reducing the risks of osteoporosis, heart disease, and arthritis, as well as eliminating many symptoms of PMS.
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Title Annotation:magnesium
Publication:Women's Health Letter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2011
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