There has been a lot of hype about calcium and magnesium supplementation. Often, these two minerals come in the same tablet, so it’s extra convenient to get both.
But do these supplements actually do anything?
Increasingly, unless you suffer from a particular condition, the answer is “no”.
I thought initially that supplementation in general (and calcium/magnesium specifically) would do no harm, and had the potential to do a lot of good.
But as I dig further and further into the efficacy of most supplements (again, calcium and magnesium specifically), I find the evidence just isn’t there. We’re very good at making the logical leap of saying “item x” appears to strengthen bones, so if I take some additional “item x”, my bones will get stronger. Only it doesn’t work that way…
- First there was the study that linked calcium supplementation to increase risks of heart attack.
- There is a link between calcium supplementation and kidney stones.
- There’s some doubt whether calcium supplementation helps with bone density and reduces fractures.
- Too much magnesium supplementation can produce diarrhea, cramping and can lead to kidney problems
So What Can I Do?
It’s very interesting the way our bodies work.
A well balanced diet that includes a large variety of fruits and vegetables, some dairy, and moderate amounts of nuts and seeds, has proven to provide all the supplementation you need.
Instead of reaching for the pill bottle to get what you need, do a better job at the grocery store. Eat a variety of healthy food every day, and your “need for supplementation” will disappear.
Actually, that need was never addressed by supplementation in the first place – it doesn’t work.
All supplements of any kind, unless there’s a specific condition you are treating which has been proved to work with them, are just expensive pee.
As for myself, I used to be on a variety of stuff every day:
- 82mg aspirin
- 1000mg fish oil
- 1000mg calcium
- 333mg magnesium
- 2000IU vitamin D
- 5mg Crestor (statin)
- 2000mg niacin
- 500mg resveratrol
I am now on 82mg of aspirin daily, because it’s been proved to have all kinds of benefits, and the potential side-effects are outweighed by them. It doesn’t come naturally in our diets unless you routinely eat willow bark, so I choke down a baby aspirin every morning.
As for everything else, it’s been thrown in the garbage.
Even the Vitamin D, which every doctor in the higher latitudes will tell you to take (I’m in Vancouver – 50N), is now substituted by getting outdoors for an hour or two every day. Sunshine gets converted into Vitamin D much better than any supplement will.
I think this was always the way nature intended….
What have you done to your supplements?
I think the days of “better living through chemistry” are being replaced by “better living by paying attention”.