There's a lot of talk about the importance of calcium. This is warranted. But another very essential mineral often gets left behind in the discussion. Magnesium has a huge role in maintaining bone health. Nearly 2/3 of your bodies magnesium is stored in bones. Unfortunately...
"About 60% of adults in the United States do not consume the estimated average requirement for magnesium, but widespread pathological conditions attributed to magnesium deficiency have not been reported. Nevertheless, low magnesium status has been associated with numerous pathological conditions characterized as having a chronic inflammatory stress component." Nutr Rev 2010 Jun;68(6):333-40
Among women, who are far more susceptible to osteoporosis, "the average dietary Mg intake... is 68% of the RDA, indicating that a large proportion of our population has substantial dietary Mg deficit." This level of magnesium deficiency has the effect of, "decrease in osteoblasts and an increase in osteoclasts..." J Am Coll Nutr 2009 Apr;28(2):131-41
What's equally concerning is that researchers found that magnesium deficiency led to an increase in production of inflammatory signals like substance P, TNFalpha and IL1beta. (We will address inflammation in a separate post).
It is clear that when dietary magnesium is low, there are a few ways that your bones suffer; bone making cells decrease activity, bone degrading cells increase activity, and inflammation will degrade bone.
Pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, almonds, black beans and navy beans are excellent sources of magnesium.