Taking magnesium with other vitamins and minerals
On this page, we give you a general overview of:
- how minerals and vitamins can affect each other
- why minerals and vitamins rely on each other to work properly
- the benefits of taking magnesium with other minerals and vitamins
What are the benefits of taking magnesium?
Magnesium is one of a number of essential nutrients your body—and every one of its vital organs—needs to work properly and efficiently. Not only does it convert the food you eat into energy, but it benefits your body by:
- strengthening bones
- relieving muscle tension and muscle spasms
- reducing fatigue and muscle weakness
- improving sleep
- helping muscles to recover after doing exercise or playing sports
- repairing skin
Magnesium also helps with:
- normal energy-yielding metabolism
- normal muscle function
- electrolyte balance
- normal functioning of the nervous system
- normal protein synthesis
What other vitamins and minerals can I take with magnesium?
Vitamins and minerals maintain a delicate balance inside your body and must co-operate to have their best effect. Because of this, it’s important to know that some nutrients are helpful to each other and some aren’t.
Certain vitamins and minerals need other vitamins and minerals to absorb properly into the bloodstream. Some have the opposite effect, hindering other nutrients’ absorption and often causing the body to develop deficiencies.
The degree and rate at which your body can absorb a mineral or vitamin (known as “bioavailability”) is influenced by how it interacts with other nutrients. Magnesium, for example, plays a crucial role in enabling your body to absorb:
- minerals such as:
- vitamins such as vitamin D
Bioavailability also depends on factors such as:
- the composition of the mineral/vitamin—some forms of magnesium, for instance, absorb more easily than others
- your overall intake of the mineral/vitamin
- your diet
- your age
- your metabolism
- the health of your gastrointestinal tract (if you’re taking oral supplements)
Magnesium and calcium
How magnesium and calcium work together
Magnesium helps bones develop and remain dense and strong. Calcium, too, is essential to bone health—not only in maintaining strength but in slowing down the natural decrease in bone density that occurs as we get older.
Your body doesn’t need magnesium to absorb calcium, but it does need it to:
- prevent calcium getting into soft tissues, kidneys, arteries and cartilage, where it can be toxic
- support calcium in regulating the heartbeat
- help the vitamins that facilitate calcium absorption (vitamins D ) to work properly
Supplementing magnesium and calcium
While your body can store calcium for gradual use over time, with magnesium it needs to replenish its levels each day. Eating a varied and balanced range of foods can provide you with a certain amount of magnesium but not always your full recommended daily intake (known as Reference Nutrient Intake), so it’s likely you’ll need to use mineral supplements as well.
Magnesium and calcium supplements come both in oral form (taken by mouth, such as tablets and capsules) and transdermal form (absorbed through the skin, such as lotions and sprays). There are recommended daily doses you should keep to, and because magnesium and calcium work so closely together, it’s important to take the right amount of each.
There are few side effects to taking magnesium and calcium supplements, and the symptoms that do sometimes occur (for example, a laxative effect) tend to be confined to supplements taken orally. Transdermal supplements generally have no adverse effects.
Magnesium and vitamin D
How magnesium and vitamin D work together
Your body depends on magnesium to make vitamin D absorbable. Enzymes in your liver and kidneys need magnesium to break down vitamin D and convert it into a form your body can work with.
One important function of vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb calcium, which in turn plays a part in how your body absorbs magnesium. Without magnesium, vitamin D can increase calcium levels and lead it to deposit itself in soft tissues, where it can be toxic and bring about certain health problems.
Vitamin D also:
- helps your immune system to function properly
- regulates blood pressure
- enables bones and teeth to develop and grow
- keeps muscles healthy
Supplementing magnesium and vitamin D
Using vitamin D supplements is particularly important, as you get 80% to 90% of your intake from sunlight rather than diet. While this is fine during the spring and summer when there are more daylight hours, in autumn and winter it can be difficult to get enough. Indeed, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, affecting around 1 billion people worldwide.
Although vitamin D comes in two main forms—vitamin D2 and vitamin D3—vitamin D3 is the naturally occurring form and generally the preferred way to supplement. While many people take tablets or capsules, BetterYou provides a range of oral sprays designed to deliver vitamin D directly into the soft tissues of the mouth.
Magnesium and vitamin B
How magnesium and vitamin B work together
There are eight different B vitamins and they all contribute to your metabolism, allowing your body to convert the food you eat into energy.
Individually, they have a range of other functions, from enabling organs to develop and function properly (vitamin B1) to aiding with digestion (vitamin B3), supporting the production of insulin (vitamin B6) or helping in the creation of red blood cells (vitamin B12).
When working together, vitamin B and magnesium:
- promote normal function of the nervous system and normal psychological function
- contribute to energy yielding metabolism
- reduce tiredness and fatigue
Supplementing magnesium and vitamin B
Your body doesn’t produce vitamin B naturally, so your intake depends on your diet and any supplements you take. As vitamin B and magnesium don’t affect each other’s absorption inside your body, you’ll find that many supplements combine the two.
Like with magnesium, your body can’t store vitamin B—it's water soluble, which means it dissolves in water—and so needs to top up its supply each day. B-complex supplements not only combine the eight water-soluble vitamins into a single tablet, but often provide your full recommended dietary intake of each vitamin too.
Magnesium and zinc
How magnesium and zinc work together
All minerals and vitamins need the proper conditions for your body to absorb them properly. When taken together, magnesium and zinc have mutual benefits. Magnesium helps your body regulate its zinc levels, while zinc does the job of allowing it to absorb magnesium more effectively.
Your body uses zinc to:
- process food
- heal wounds
- boost your immune system
- synthesise proteins and DNA
- keep bones strong and healthy
Supplementing magnesium and zinc
Zinc is essential to everyday health and wellbeing. As with magnesium, your body is unable to store it naturally, meaning you must consume it regularly, through your daily diet and through supplements, to keep your intake at the recommended level.
However, your body requires much less zinc than it does magnesium, and the recommended daily dosages are much lower. Because magnesium and zinc don’t compete for absorption inside the body, many oral supplements combine them in one tablet, pill or capsule.
Magnesium and potassium
Magnesium and potassium tend to be prescribed together for certain types of disease and illness rather than for everyday use to keep mineral intake at its proper level. Most people are able to get their recommended dietary allowance of potassium by eating foods such as bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, red meat and poultry.
Magnesium and iron
While magnesium and iron supplements sometimes interact with other nutrients, there’s no scientific evidence to say they have a negative effect on each other’s absorption within the body. They are generally safe to take together, although the advice is often to take them with food when taken orally, to reduce the chances of suffering an upset stomach.