Low magnesium levels make vitamin D ineffective, according to a review published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body after calcium, potassium, and sodium, according to the study. Foods high in magnesium include green vegetables, egg yolk, soybeans, brown rice, and cashews. The recommended allowance for magnesium for males is 420 mg per day and 320 mg per day for females. 

However, the standard diet in the United States contains only approximately 50% of that, meaning as much as half of the total population is magnesium deficient, according to the study. Magnesium status is low in populations who consume processed foods high in fats, refined grains, sugar, and phosphate, according to the study.

Vitamin D cannot be metabolized without sufficient magnesium levels. The study authors found that patients with optimum magnesium levels require less vitamin D supplementation to achieve sufficient levels. Deficiency in either magnesium or vitamin D is associated with various disorders, such as skeletal deformities, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic syndrome.

Taking vitamin D supplements can also be dangerous if magnesium levels are not sufficient, according to the study. The researchers found that taking vitamin D supplements can increase a person’s calcium and phosphate levels even if they remain vitamin D deficient. This may cause vascular calcification if magnesium levels aren’t high enough to prevent it. 

"People are taking vitamin D supplements but don't realize how it gets metabolized. Without magnesium, vitamin D is not really useful or safe," Mohammed S. Razzaque, MBBS, PhD, study co-author and professor of Pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in the press release. 

Magnesium helps to reduce osteoporosis, which aids in mitigating the risk of bone fracture associated with low levels of vitamin D. According to the researchers, magnesium consumption from natural foods has decreased in the past few decades due to industrialized agriculture and dietary changes.

Reference:
Researchers find low magnesium levels make vitamin D ineffective (news release) Chicago, Ill. Feb, 28, 2018. EurekAlert! Accessed July 27, 2020