Intake of vitamin D and magnesium is important for health. But what should you pay attention to? And do they both work together?
There are various ways to do something for your health. For example, sporting activities, mindful eating and sufficient sleep, as well as recovery periods. A US study recently revealed eight factors believed to help people live longer.
But what are the effects of taking food supplements? This text is specifically about vitamin D, which is said to increase your chances of survival in cancer, and magnesium. You can find out how the two work together at the end of the article.
Vitamin D: what’s behind it?
This was reported by the Federal Ministry of Health vitamin D” the collective name for calciferols, a group of soluble solids VitaminsWhen exposed to sunlight, the human body produces vitamin D. It is also contained in foods such as fatty fish, organ meats, 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 “key role in bone mineralisation”.
According to the RKI, vitamin D also plays a role in “other metabolic processes, in the formation of proteins and in 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, it is necessary to stay outdoors. The remaining 10-20% comes from diet. By the way: a deficiency can lead to depressive moods.
Magnesium: what’s behind it?
The Federal Ministry of Health informs that magnesium is “important for the metabolism of muscles, nerves and bones”. Unlike vitamin D, the body cannot produce magnesium on its own, which is why it must be obtained through food. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, athletes and people with certain underlying illnesses have a greater need for it.
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Magnesium is according to the house of Karl Lauterbach (SPD) “contained in many foods of plant origin”. Larger quantities can be found “in dried fruit and oilseeds, green vegetables, legumes and whole grains”.
Vitamin D: how does a deficiency manifest itself and what effects does it have?
Especially in the northern regions in the winter months there is a lack of sunlight to be able to absorb enough vitamin D. In this case the RKI states that “UV-B radiation with a wavelength between 290 nm and 315 nm is required” and that these “occur year-round only in regions below the 35th parallel.”
In Germany “the body’s own education is only possible from March to October when time is spent outdoors”. Furthermore, “UV-B radiation could be reduced by more than 90% even in the summer months due to unfavorable weather conditions, for example in case of heavy cloud cover”.
Factors include “age, skin color and body weight, as well as modern lifestyle influences.” According to the RKI, a vitamin D deficiency can also lead to “chronic gastrointestinal, liver or kidney diseases”. Drugs such as antiepileptics or cystostatics could also compromise the metabolism of vitamin D.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the following symptoms may indicate a vitamin D deficiency:
- Bone pain
- Deformations of the bones, particularly of the ribs, legs and spine
- Broken bones
- Swelling at the junction between cartilage and bone
- Softening of the back of the head
- Delayed closure of the fontanelle in young children
- Muscle weakness
- Susceptibility to infections
Magnesium: how does a deficiency manifest itself and what effects does it have?
A magnesium deficiency can occur “due to an unbalanced diet or kidney disease,” writes the Federal Ministry of Health. Severe diarrhea can also be a trigger because even in this case there is the risk of not absorbing enough magnesium or excreting too much.
The human body has mechanisms that prevent the excretion of too much magnesium. However, due to a genetic defect, this regulatory mechanism does not work properly in very few people, “for example in Gitelman syndrome, a rare hereditary kidney disease”.
In addition, magnesium balance can also be negatively affected 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, a magnesium deficiency can also be due to high alcohol consumption. The requirement also increases due to stress, sport or pregnancy.
Symptoms often only become apparent when the deficiency is severe. Furthermore, the symptoms are not always clear and could also be interpreted as “signs of other diseases”. The Lauterbach House lists the following symptoms:
- Muscle cramps and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
- Drop in body temperature and frequent frostbite
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Digestive problems
Vitamin D and magnesium: how do they work together?
As the German Nutrition Society (DGE) informs on request, vitamin D fundamentally supports the absorption of magnesium in the intestine. It is also true that a sufficient level of vitamin D can improve the absorption of magnesium. However, it is underlined: “In our opinion this is not a reason to unreservedly consume food supplements containing these nutrients.”
The importance of vitamin D for magnesium homeostasis (balance in the body) is unclear. Some studies show that exogenous intake, i.e. 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 the magnesium balance is positively influenced.
There is a warning against taking too much vitamin D and magnesium through dietary supplements. Exceeding reference values can have negative effects. For vitamin D, the daily requirement is 20 micrograms per day. As regards magnesium, the reference value increases with age: from 24 milligrams per day in the first four months to 80 milligrams up to the first year of age, from ten years onwards with differences for males and females, and finally from age 10 of 19,350 milligrams per day for men and 300 milligrams for women.
According to the DGE, medications or an illness can also influence the interaction between vitamin D and magnesium, although it is advisable to consult a nutritionist. It is underlined that in general the simultaneous intake of medicines and food supplements should be avoided. A safe distance of at least one or two hours must be maintained.