Magnesium: Supermineral for Bones

Magnesium: Super-mineral for Bones

References: European Jr Epid April 2017,

When you get to be 65, as a women, your highest risk of premature disability and death comes from a broken bone. Higher than heart disease and cancer. Tell me about it. Much the same for me as a male. At age 65.5, I have fallen and broken my calcaneus (heel bone) and five months later, am still limping around. We don’t die from all of our fractures, but hip fractures result in a huge mortality. About one in 8 women will have a fractured hip and as many as 30% of them will never return home once it happens. Again, I carry a personal grudge against fractured hips having lost my mother-in-law to that event. Her mail was still on the dining room table when she died, four months later. 
Hence, my intense interest in this research. Magnesium isn’t something we talk about much in traditional medicine. It’s hard to measure. Your bones contain about 50% of your bodies total magnesium supply, albeit it is only 1% of your bone’s content. Your serum magnesium only represents 1% of your total body reservoir, so that is just a tiny sample. By the time your serum magnesium is low, you have a massive deficit, and to get that deficit, your bones have to be awfully deprived. 
The core physiology of what happens with lower magnesium is that the crystals of calcium in your bone get larger and more brittle. Brittle isn’t good. Taking calcium won’t help. Nor will vitamin D help. There appears to be a spooky relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and magnesium. Your low Vitamin D status may be tied up with low magnesium. 
Through most of human history, where did we get our magnesium from? Green plants. Raw. When we cook plants, their cells break down and all the internal magnesium leaks out. When we eat bread and grains instead of vegetables, our magnesium intake drops. When we add animal and sugar, our magnesium drops further. When we deplete our soils with intensive industrial farming, forcing our plants to grow with large doses of fertilizer, our soil magnesium drops, and our food intake of magnesium drops further still. And when we measure our serum magnesium, we really don’t see the deficit until the cow is out of the barn and in the neighbors pasture. 
The study was fairly robust. It looked at 2,245 middle aged Finnish men and followed them for 20 years. They found that those with the lowest magnesium had 44% more hip fractures. Only 22 men had a serum magnesium about 2.3. None of them had a fracture. Notice, only 1% of the men had that blood level. And you should come back to me and say, “Serum doesn’t catch it until way too late.” 
I measure Red Cell Magnesium and rarely, ever, find someone over 6.0. Most of us are in the four range.  There are studies showing that magnesium supplementation helps prevent cognitive decline. And red cell magnesium of 5.5 and above is often the minimum recommended. I aim for 6. To date, of several hundred folks tested, I have only seen 2 who have come to me with a magnesium level of 6. Both were taking daily supplements of magnesium. 
What’s my conclusion? Over 95% of us are functionally low on magnesium. The very best way to get it is with a diet of abundant green vegetables. Or just buck it up and take a supplement. Magnesium threonate is the most recent popular model for brain health. Without good bones, your brains can’t get you anywhere.

WWW.What will work for me. I’m taking magnesium threonate every day. My red cell level was only 4.9 when I tested. Second test pending still. Your should know your red cell magnesium. Aim for 6. Eat more spinach.

4 thoughts on “Magnesium: Supermineral for Bones

  1. Megan Meganck

    Hi Dr. Whitcomb, Your group email /newsletter entitled: Magnesium: Super-mineral for Bones seems to have a technical problem. As it appears on this newsinnutrition website, the title remains, but the body of the email is not on that topic . The body of the newsletter is instead your recently posted newsletter about the benefits of Saunas. My guess is it was an error in saving your Magnesium newsletter that resulted in the loss of it’s content here. I was actually reading the Magnesium newsletter (earlier today 5/1/17) when it disappeared from my email feed (on my phone). When I looked for it in my inbox (on my desktop PC) there was no email there from you – as though it had been retracted or recalled. I’m hoping the Magnesium newsletter will be re-sent because I was interested in that topic, and am eager to finish reading your article. In general, THANK YOU for writing/sending your newsletters. They do a great service. Be well. – MM

  2. Dan Nave

    In case you didn’t notice it, you must have pulled last week’s article and attached it to this week’s subject topic.


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