Magnesium Helps Vitamin D Fight Cancer

Vitamin D in the Sand

New research has shown that magnesium is so important for the proper use of vitamin D in your body, it can actually boost vitamin D’s protection from fatal heart disease and colon cancer by nearly 500 percent, and from overall death by over 100 percent.  Importantly, this also means that those with low magnesium levels are getting far less benefit from their vitamin D than they think.

Magnesium – your body can’t use vitamin D without it

The three major enzymes responsible for activating, storing and transporting vitamin D around your body are all magnesium dependent. This means no matter how much vitamin D you take, your body cannot properly use it if you are deficient in magnesium. On the other hand, a high magnesium intake actually appears to boost vitamin D levels. One large new study from the USA has just shown that adults with a magnesium intake of >420 mg daily were 66 percent less likely to be vitamin D deficient compared to those with lower intakes (< 225 mg daily). Also, those who took at least 100 mg daily of supplemental magnesium had 70 percent less risk of being vitamin D deficient. More importantly, if magnesium can improve your vitamin D status, does it also boost the beneficial effects of vitamin D? Latest research has just confirmed that it does.

Magnesium boosts the benefit of Vitamin D for survival by >100 percent

Researchers observed more than 12,000 American adults (part of the NHANES III cohort) over a period of 18 years.  During that time, those with high vitamin D (> 40 ng/ml) were 13 percent less likely to die from any cause if they had low magnesium intakes (264 mg/day), but were 30 percent less likely to die if they had high magnesium intakes (>264 mg/day). In other words, a high magnesium intake more than doubled the protective effect of vitamin D against death from all causes. This relationship held true for all levels of vitamin D above 20 ng/ml and was statistically significant.

Magnesium boosts vitamin D’s protection from fatal heart disease up to 478 percent

This effect was even more impressive for death from heart disease. Those with high vitamin D but low magnesium had just 9 percent less risk of death from heart disease. But those with high vitamin D and high magnesium intake had a 43 percent risk reduction. That’s a boost of 478 percent in the effectiveness of vitamin D for preventing lethal heart disease. Even at low levels of vitamin D, magnesium more than doubled the protective effect of vitamin D (241 percent), and this was statistically significant.

Magnesium may potently reduce colon cancer risk

Magnesium has already been shown to strongly reduce the risk for pancreatic cancer and colon cancer in previous studies. This latest research may explain why. Although not statistically significant (due to very small sample size), higher magnesium intakes boosted the protective effect of vitamin D from colon cancer mortality by up to 480 percent, again at the highest levels of vitamin D.   

Dietary sources of magnesium

In conclusion, if you want to maximize the health benefits of vitamin D, you must have an optimal intake of magnesium, which in this new study is defined as anywhere from 264 – 420 mg daily. Since 79 percent of Americans are magnesium deficient, everyone should consider increasing their intake through diet or supplementation for optimal health. Good sources (which contain 200-400 mg of magnesium per 100 grams) include whole grains, nuts, seeds, cocoa, dark chocolate, spices and seaweed. Particularly rich sources are hemp seeds, rice bran, pumpkin and squash seeds, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, watermelon seeds, and sesame seeds. Note that magnesium deficiency is more likely in seniors, heavy drinkers, and those with hyperglycemia, gluten sensitivity, and Crohn’s disease.

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