Now let's take a look at the importance of magnesium in our diets. Most of us know the importance of including calcium-rich foods in our diets, but many do not know the importance of including magnesium-rich foods in our diets along with the calcium. Later in this book you will find recipes that will have a good calcium-magnesium ratio, that is, the calcium is closely listed with magnesium as opposed to being separated by other elements.


Calcium instructs muscles to contract, magnesium instructs muscles to relax. A high-fat diet can steal both magnesium and calcium. R.B. Singh, MD, chief cardiologist and professor of clinical nutrition at the Moradabad Medical Hospital in Moradabad, India, discussed this finding.

The study suggested that high dietary fat can inhibit the absorption of magnesium, and that we absorb even less magnesium with saturated than with polyunsaturated fat. (Singh RB: A high-fat diet can steal both magnesium and calcium, Journal Magnesium 9: 255, 1990.)

The more calcium in the diet, the more magnesium that is needed. Calcium given alone can induce a magnesium deficiency. The most serious complications from a deficiency of magnesium are heart conditions such as irregular heartbeat and rapid heartbeat. (Bariscoe M, Ragen C: Relation of magnesium on calcium metabolism in man, American Journal of Nutrition 19: 296, 1966.)

Gustawa Stendig-Lindberg, MD, of the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, one of the researchers in the study published in the research publication, Medical Tribune, has suggested that, after a woman reaches menopause, bone density usually drops by about one percent a year. It is believed that magnesium may halt the loss of bone because it aids in the transport of calcium in and out of the cells. Magnesium plays an important part in converting vitamin D to its active form. (Stendig-Lindberg,G, MD: Medical Tribune: July 22, l993.) Another good reason to include magnesium in our diet.


According to Mildred S. Seelig, PhD, a magnesium expert from the University of North Carolina, more than half of the body's magnesium is found in the bones. Calcium gives bones their strength, while magnesium helps them maintain their elasticity to prevent injury. (Seelig MS: Increased magnesium need with use of combined estrogen and calcium for Osteoporosis, Magnesium Research 3: 197-215, 1990.) This is one good reason to be sure we have a good calcium-magnesium ratio in our daily diet.

In this study on osteoporosis, magnesium and calcium were increased along with estrogen therapy. But, if you are not a candidate for estrogen therapy to prevent (further) osteoporosis, you may want to review the chapter later in this book on SOY (Defatted Soy Flour) to find ways in which defatted soy flour may help you increase the estrogen level in your body through food intake. In my previous books, I also describe foods high in boron that may help increase estrogen levels. (Fisher, RC: Osteoporosis, My High Calcium, Low Cholesterol Diet: 12-13, 1989), (Fisher, RC: Research and Recipes on Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and Cancer: 7, 1992.) Since I am not a candidate for estrogen therapy, I include these foods in my daily menu.

Guy E. Abraham, MD, presents data that suggest that magnesium deficiency has a significant role in primary post-menopausal osteoporosis. Magnesium is involved in calcium metabolism and in the synthesis of vitamin D, as well as in maintaining bone integrity. (Abraham GE, Grewal H: A total dietary program emphasizing Magnesium instead of Calcium in the treatment of Osteoporosis, Journal of Reproductive Medicine 35: 503-507, 1990.) (Abraham GE: The importance of Magnesium in management of primary post-menopausal Osteoporosis, Journal of Nutritional Medicine 2: 165-178, 1991.)

A study in Israel found that sixteen out of nineteen women had lower than normal trabecular (hip area) magnesium content and also had lower blood levels of magnesium, as was determined by infrared spectroscopy. (Cohen L, Kitzes R: Infrared spectroscopy and magnesium content in bone mineral in osteoporotic women, Isr J Med Sci 17: 1123, 1981.)


This index provides a list of further research summaries and recipes on some of the many ways foods can help prevent or reverse specific conditions. Just click on the ones that are of interest to you.

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Rosemary C. Fisher.
Copyright 1998, 1999 []. All rights reserved.