Calcium and magnesium are the most famous of all the minerals due to their vast array of benefits to our health. Dr. Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Prize winner said: “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Studies have proven calcium to increase bone health, reduce high blood pressure, relax the nerves and muscles, and prevent colon cancer and kidney stones. Magnesium is an effective nutrient for strengthening heart health, reducing diabetes, and treating migraines, insomnia and depression.
Calcium and magnesium were discovered by the British chemist Sir Humphry Davy in the early 1800’s. Regarding stomach and colon health, a 2007 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that calcium protects high-risk people from developing the polyps (growths in the colon) that can lead to cancer in the large bowel. The researchers found that the risk reduction occurred during the study and also lasted a full five years after the calcium supplementation ended.
Calcium supplements were shown to help prevent kidney stones in a 2008 study at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. The theory of how this works is that dietary calcium binds with a waste product in the stomach called oxalate, which comes from foods like spinach, strawberries, nuts and tea. Most kidney stones are made of oxalate. When calcium is taken, the calcium and oxalate bind together, crystallize, and exit the body long before there’s a chance for the oxalate to form into kidney stones.
Mildred Seelig, M.D., the leading medical researcher on magnesium says: “Many people needlessly suffer pain – including fibromyalgia, migraines and muscle cramps – because they don’t get enough magnesium.” According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, inadequate magnesium also appears to reduce serotonin levels in the brain. One study found that magnesium was just as effective as an antidepressant drug in treating depression. In addition, researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute reported that for every 100 milligram increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type-2 diabetes decreased by 15 per cent.
Studies have found that people with migraine headaches have low concentrations of magnesium in their body. The word “cephalalgia” literally means head pain or headache. In a German study of 81 migraine patients published in the journal “Cephalalgia”, 42 percent of the people taking oral magnesium reduced both the duration and intensity of their migraine attacks. They also reduced their reliance on medications to control migraines.
James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.” Chronic insomnia is one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Sleep in magnesium deficiency is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was shown in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
Nutritional supplements containing calcium and magnesium can also double as an effective sleep remedy. Natural insomnia remedies should contain calcium and magnesium in a two to one ratio (twice as much calcium as magnesium), as well as a good amount of vitamin D. Softgels, with healthy oils mixed in with the minerals, are more absorbable than tablets or capsules.
The best thing about supplementing with calcium and magnesium is the large list of studies showing they support virtually every part, organ and system in the body.