Two of the most important minerals in the body are calcium and magnesium, which are both needed in large amounts to maintain the metabolic functions of the body. Though only calcium is widely advertised in the market, magnesium is also important to achieve proper balance together with calcium. These two minerals always work mutually to sustain the functions of muscles and bones since excess or lack of one mineral will already cause several metabolic disorders.
Calcium, the backbone mineral of the body, is found in huge amount in bones and teeth while it retains healthy blood counts and regulates heartbeat and pulse. About 99 percent of the calcium in the body is deposited into bones and teeth to maintain its firmness. It also helps the blood to clot when bleeding, contracts the muscles, transmits nerve impulses, activates enzyme production of gastric juices, aids in pH balance and in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also helps prevent colon cancer. Lack of calcium in the body may lead to tooth decay, osteoporosis, brittle bones and nails, rickets, problems in joints, high cholesterol levels and palpitations just to name a few.
In line with this, magnesium regulates the absorption of calcium into bones, transmits nerve impulses, relaxes muscle, regulates body temperature and pH balance, and releases nerve tension. About 70 percent of magnesium in the body is deposited into bones and only 1 percent is in blood circulation. It also absorbs and utilizes minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, and vitamins C, E and D. It also regulates neuromuscular activity of heart and maintains its rhythm, and converts sugar into energy for the body to use throughout the day. Magnesium is also involved in hundreds of biochemical and enzymatic reactions in the body, which helps in energy production and aids in function of the adrenal glands. Magnesium deficiency can cause psychotic behavior, weight loss, convulsions, vasodilation, muscle cramps and abnormal heartbeat.
Calcium and magnesium work together to maintain balance in the body such as calcium helping the blood to clot easily while magnesium dilates the veins to prevent excessive clotting and calcium contracting the muscles as muscles are relaxed with the help of magnesium. A ratio of 2:1 of calcium to magnesium is needed by the body to be physically fit. Known to prevent degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, calcium is often prescribed to people suffering from these diseases, but unknown to many; excess calcium may lead to formation of calcium deposits in different parts of the body where calcium is not usually deposited in the first place. This is where magnesium enters the scene as it stimulates the production of a hormone which increases the absorption of calcium into the bones called calcitonin. Magnesium also restrains the production of a hormone which releases calcium from bones to blood and soft tissues called parathyroid hormone.
Another example of calcium-magnesium balance is the phase happening inside the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. The cell makes use of the calcium pump during energy production, where magnesium is needed to function properly. The pump becomes efficient when there is enough magnesium in the cell, which produces enough energy and prevents the mitochondria to calcify.
Calcium and magnesium work best together if provided in sufficient amounts but tend to act conversely to each other. The body easily stores calcium while magnesium is eliminated immediately. To obtain both minerals, one must eat plenty of green leafy vegetables which are known to be rich in both calcium and magnesium. Also, calcium is best found in milk and dairy products while magnesium is present in meat, bananas, seafood and garlic.