This Missing Mineral May be Robbing You of Vitamin D

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By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

May 2, 2018

  • An overlooked cause of vitamin D deficiency
  • Magnesium and vitamin D work hand-in-hand to protect your health
  • How to get more of the “missing” mineral

As unbelievable as it may sound, at least 40% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. And depending on what measure is used as the cut-off for deficiency, it could be as many as 75%.

This is a huge problem. It’s also why I recommend that everyone have their vitamin D levels tested.

But what happens if you’re low on this nutrient? Will taking a vitamin D supplement bring your levels back up to part? And what if you are taking vitamin D supplements and still insufficient in this nutrient?

Well, today I want to alert you to another deficiency that may actually be robbing your stores of vitamin D.

In particular, if you aren’t getting enough magnesium, your ability to metabolize vitamin D stalls out. Your body simply can’t produce enough of the sunshine vitamin to support good health – even if you take a vitamin D supplement.

Considering that upwards of three out of four people might not be getting enough magnesium in their diets, this creates a real health dilemma for an extremely large number of Americans.

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Magnesium and Vitamin D Work Together to Protect Your Health

Low levels of either of these nutrients – Vitamin D or magnesium – are associated with heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.

Just imagine how much greater these health threats are if you are deficient in both of them!

Here are some perfect examples.

When magnesium levels are low, you’re more likely to experience irregular heart beat, higher blood pressure and accelerated plaque build up. A magnesium deficiency could even increase your risk of sudden cardiac death by more than 50%.

Well, guess what? Many of these same cardiovascular concerns occur with vitamin D deficiency. When your levels of the sunshine vitamin levels are low, you are more likely to experience high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart attack, heart failure or cardiovascular death.

What about metabolic syndrome and diabetes?

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Well, women with vitamin D insufficiency have a 57.8% rate of metabolic syndrome. And the fact is, over half of diabetics suffer from low vitamin D levels. At the same time, low serum magnesium levels have been seen in as many as two-thirds of patients with metabolic syndrome and up to 75% of diabetics.

How to Get More of the “Missing” Mineral

Now here’s the thing…

You can take all of the vitamin D supplements you want. But if you have insufficient levels of magnesium, you won’t be able to optimally metabolize it. This means that if you are vitamin D deficient, it’s critically urgent for your doctor to also take a look at your magnesium levels.

The most common test for magnesium deficiency is the “total serum magnesium test”.  However, when your body is short on magnesium it will pull it out of your cells to maintain adequate blood serum levels of it.

Thus, I prefer the “RBC magnesium test”, which checks the actual magnesium levels in your cells. It’s a much more accurate measure and provides an earlier indicator of deficiency.

I generally recommend 5 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight. Take it in divided doses throughout the day. Look for ones that end in “ate”… as in glycinate, threonate, malate, citrate and so forth.

I like to take combinations of these in the same supplement or rotate two or three different ones throughout the month. (While the glycinate may be the most absorbable for many people, citrate is usually preferred by the sluggish bowel movers amongst us.)

You can also get more magnesium in the foods you eat. A few choices high in this mineral include carrots, peas, broccoli, asparagus, sunflower seeds and almonds.

And don’t forget to keep your eyes on your vitamin D status. Set your goal for maintaining levels of around 40-50 ng/ml. (If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease closer to 65 ng/ml is better.)


Uwitonze AM, et al. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):181-189.

Rosanoff A, et al. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr Rev 2012;70(3):153-64.

Kieboom BCT, et al. Serum Magnesium and the Risk of Death From Coronary Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Death. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Jan; 5(1): e002707.

Fanari Z, et al. Vitamin D deficiency plays an important role in cardiac disease and affects patient outcome: Still a myth or a fact that needs exploration? J Saudi Heart Assoc. 2015 Oct; 27(4): 264–271.

Schmitt EB, et al. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women. Maturitas. 2018 Jan;107:97-102.

Al-Timimi DJ, et al. Serum 25(OH) D in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: Relation to Glycaemic Control. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Dec;7(12):2686-8.

Guerrero-Romero F, et al. Low serum magnesium levels and metabolic syndrome. Acta Diabetol. 2002 Dec;39(4):209-13.

DiNicolantonio JJ, et al. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018 Jan 13;5(1):e000668.

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