By Dr. Susan Marafino
The mineral calcium's major function is building and maintaining bones and teeth. Calcium is also important for enzyme activity in the body: affecting muscle contraction, neurotransmitter release, regulation of heart beat and blood clotting. The mineral magnesium, although less touted in the press, is as important as calcium in many conditions, especially in osteoporosis treatment and prevention. Magnesium's major function is enzyme activation and producing energy in the cells, and it is important in maintaining the bone matrix. People often assume if they take a calcium supplement, they are maintaining healthy bones. While beneficial, this is not a complete solution. Even if you get adequate calcium in your diet, other factors affect osteoporosis: such as a high phosphorus intake or a high protein diet – both cause loss of calcium in the urine.
Magnesium is a co-enzyme in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including a reaction that converts vitamin D to its active form. The active form of vitamin D is critical for maintaining healthy bones.
Foods high in calcium include tofu, cheddar cheese, kale, and leafy greens (such as turnip, collard and mustard). In fact, kale is higher in calcium than milk. Foods high in magnesium include tofu, seeds, nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
Dr. Susan Marafino is a Doctor of Chiropractic practicing at Hamilton Chiropractic Health Center. Contact her with comments at 23 Broad Street, Hamilton, NY 13346 or call (315)824.2504.