Magnesium Is Not Depleted by Vitamin D3
Psoriasis in many cases can be dramatically improved by vitamin D3 supplements. Even though there are opponents claiming D3 supplementation depletes magnesium stores vitamin D3 definitely helped a lot of psoriatics!
- vitamin D significantly increases the magnesium absorption even though less than calcium absorption
- vitamin D does not cause magnesium loss
- vitamin D increases the bone resorption (rebuilding of the bone)
- magnesium significantly reduces the damage to arteries caused by hypervitaminosis D
- vitamin D activation needs magnesium, but this process can’t be considered as depletion since vitamin D is essential for the body
- the effect of Parathyroid hormone on serum calcium levels is not dependent on normal vitamin D3 levels
Vitamin D3 and magnesium for psoriasis
The positive effects of vitamin D3 on psoriasis are still underrated. Vitamin D3 plays a critical role in our immune system. Not just it balances the inflammatory responses but also helps to activate the immune cells to fight off the infections.
As you probably know already I consider psoriasis as a disease which is caused by infection – bacteria (in root canals, dental infections, small intestine), viral reactivation (general worsening of the health – damaging the nervous system) and fungal (plaques on the skin).
Vitamin D3 is often the only factor which makes the skin of the millions of people with psoriasis better in the summer.
A lot of people completely cleared up their skin with vitamin D3 supplement. Usually it takes some time like 3-6 months but they get there.
So should they forget about the vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter just because it supposedly “deplete” the magnesium? In my opinion the better choice is supplement the magnesium along the vitamin D3 which will bring even better results when taken together.
Magnesium helps the relaxation of the blood vessels (factor in psoriasis), balance the blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and subsequent adrenaline production, detoxify the body and generally helps the Autonomic Nervous System to work better.
Stress and anxiety is a huge factor which induced or worsening the psoriasis of many people out there and magnesium is popular mostly due to its effects on depression and anxiety. Magnesium for that purpose is often sold as supplement in combination with one of its co-factors – vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
If you can check the blood levels of vitamin D it is great since you will know for sure you don’t take too much.
What is magnesium depletion?
There is a lot of misinformation about the vitamin D3 in regards to its effect on magnesium levels in the body.
A lot of proponents of magnesium supplementation are strongly against the use of vitamin D as D2 or D3 supposedly due to its negative effects on magnesium. They claim that supplemental vitamin D3 depletes the magnesium.
Nothing is so far from the truth!
The word “deplete” should be used more carefully. “Deplete” should be used only in relation to substances which are not necessary for the body and cause unnecessary loss of magnesium.
The processing of vitamin D/D3 requires the magnesium and may use up the magnesium – that’s true; however this is not “depletion” of magnesium. It is a common biochemical pathway which is natural for the body and must run properly in order to make the body function well.
There are hundreds of identified enzymes and thousands of different biochemical pathways in our bodies which require the magnesium and where the magnesium is used up. That’s why we need to take magnesium on a regular basis and if we don’t get enough of it in our diet we have to use supplements in order to keep our body alive and well.
Alcohol consumption is not necessary for the body so we can claim that alcohol depletes the magnesium. The body does not need any intake of alcohol so any alcohol consumption can be and should be labeled as bad habit which depletes the magnesium. In this case the magnesium is actually depleted because alcohol as a toxin needs to be eliminated from the body and magnesium is used up during this detoxification process.
However, our bodies need vitamin D3 so all those claims that supplementation of D3 will deplete the magnesium is nonsense. Vitamin D3 is vital for the body and an essential chemical. We can not live without it and it is important for the body to thrive.
Check the next photo where you can see the mouse – one mice has the genetically knocked out the VDR (vitamin D receptor) gene. You can clearly say how unhealthy and aged that mice looks.
Now let’s check the scientific studies for the data about the vitamin D/D3 supplementation and its effects on magnesium levels.
Science on magnesium and vitamin D
In one study on pigs the authors researched the effects of vitamin D at doses of 500, 1500 and 3000 IU/kg of diet on magnesium metabolism and bone mineralization. During the two months the pigs were fed normal magnesium levels in their diet (0.2%). The magnesium absorption increase was 28-39% reflecting the increasing dietary vitamin D supplementation. Urinary magnesium wasn’t affected which means that magnesium retention increased as well with increased vitamin D intake. The plasma levels of calcium and magnesium were not affected by vitamin D. The levels of plasma 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (inactive vitamin D3) increased with increased doses of vitamin D but plasma levels of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (active form of vitamin D3) remained the same. The authors concluded:
“Density, breaking strength and mineral contents of the bones were lower in the pigs fed 1500 or 3000 than in those fed 500 IU vitamin D/kg diet. This suggests that bone resorption was stimulated by the higher dietary vitamin D. Thus, vitamin D at physiological doses may enhance magnesium absorption in non previously vitamin D-depleted pigs fed diets with abundant magnesium.”
Another paper researched the relation of vitamin D supplementation and magnesium absorption in man. The authors concluded that:
“Vitamin D significantly increased the mean net absorption of calcium and also the calcium balance. The mean net absorption of magnesium was also significantly increased although the rise was much less than that of calcium and the mean magnesium balance was unaffected.
the slight effect of vitamin D on magnesium absorption may be incidental to its stimulation of active calcium transport, since the latter system has weak affinities for other alkaline earth ions including strontium, barium and magnesium.”
There were also the swine studies which researched the effects of magnesium deficiency and supplementation on coronary atherosclerosis induced by hypervitaminosis D. The researchers concluded that due to subnormal levels of magnesium intake there was a trend to increased damage of arteries. Magnesium supplementation significantly reduced the degeneration of the coronary cells. The results showed that even though supplementary magnesium with excess vitamin D3 supplementation increased the cholesterol levels the result was less arterial damage.[3,4]
“It is concluded that the dietary Mg supplement prevents coronary atherosclerosis induced by hypervitaminosis D.”
One of the interesting studies published in 2009 concluded that:
“Low serum Magnesium concentration in obese individuals can be modified by vitamin D injection.”
In that study the authors were trying to determine the effects of vitamin D injection on serum magnesium concentration in obese and non-obese women. The dosage of vitamin D used in the study was 600 000 IU as vitamin D injection.
The baseline levels of serum magnesium and 25 hydroxyvitamin D in obese individuals were lower than in non-obese women. The difference of serum magnesium levels was significant where 27% obese vs 15% non-obese women were magnesium deficient.
“Vitamin D injection caused a significant increase in serum Magnesium concentration in obese subjects but not in non obese subjects. There was also a significant increase of serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D in both groups. Mean elevation in serum Magnesium level among women who had Magnesium deficiency was higher than women with Magnesium adequacy,”
the study results stated.
The increased levels of serum magnesium might be caused by bone resorption (rebuilding) which releases the minerals from the bone but why did serum magnesium levels increased only in obese women? There is a good chance that the obese subjects had serious hormonal imbalances which affected also the bone resorption process.
Magnesium deficiency impairs Parathyroid hormone function
Study from 1976 performed on 4 patients with hypocalcemia (low serum calcium) and hypomagnesemia (low serum magnesium) concluded that neither ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or dihydrotachysterol (synthetic vitamin D analogue which does not require activation/hydroxylation in the kidneys like vitamin D3) had any significant effect on serum calcium levels.
Parathyroid hormone levels were high in 3 patients and the fourth patient was administered exogenous parathyroid hormone. Despite having high parathyroid hormone levels there were still low serum calcium levels in the blood. This suggests a major impairment of the function of parathyroid hormone on serum calcium levels for some reason.
After the researchers administered the magnesium to patients their hypomagnesemia and hypocalcemia resolved.
“the mechanism remains speculative, it appears that magnesium facilitates the release of calcium from bone in the presence of adequate amounts of vitamin D and parathormone.”
The similar results were confirmed also in later study from 1985 “Magnesium administration reverses the hypocalcaemia secondary to hypomagnesaemia despite low circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D” and “Low serum concentrations of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D in human magnesium deficiency”. In those studies the authors presented the data proving that increase in serum calcium levels can occur after magnesium administration even if there are low levels of 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH)2D) – the active form of vitamin D3.[8,9]
So what have we learned?
- vitamin D does NOT cause magnesium depletion
- vitamin D can increase the serum magnesium levels
- vitamin D can increase the serum magnesium levels by increased absorption
- vitamin D can increase the serum magnesium levels by increased bone resorption
- magnesium deficiency and excess of vitamin D has an additional negative effect on coronary atherosclerosis
- magnesium supplementation prevents the coronary atherosclerosis induced by vitamin D hypervitaminosis in pigs
Vitamin D3 co-factors
It is a well known fact that vitamin D/D3 supplementation increases the calcium absorption and that excess of calcium eventually leads to calcification of the soft tissues in the body. However, there is another important vitamin which is mostly still omitted by the doctors – vitamin K1/K2.
Vitamin K is an essential for proper use of calcium in the body. Vitamin D will draw the calcium from the intestines into the blood but its vitamin K what takes care of binding that calcium and transporting it into the places where it should be – bones and teeth.
Don’t forget about the another extremely important vitamin – vitamin A. It is a fat soluble vitamin just like the other three fat soluble vitamins – D, K and E. They are supposed to be taken all at the right dosages and in balanced ratios.
Vitamin D analogues for osteoporosis
Vitamin D3 analogues are prescribed by the doctors all over the world as the osteoporosis treatment.
The problem is that those are the drugs – man made molecules which just resemble the vitamin D3. Usually they are much stronger and they increase the calcium levels dramatically. Another problem is that the doctors usually never recommend vitamin K1/K2 supplements to help the body in bone rebuilding and preventing the calcification of the soft tissues.
Do we really need to mention how most doctors think about the cod liver oil (vitamin A), zinc and of course magnesium?
Magnesium even though it is critically important not just for preventing the osteoporosis the doctors often prescribe just calcium.
The doctors push the vitamin D2/D3 or analogues of this vitamin because they are proved to increase the calcium absorption and bone density. Calcium is really not the only mineral needed for healthy bones. Magnesium is just as important along the others nutrients (vitamins, fats and amino acids, other minerals…) Having the more dense bones on x-ray doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the structures in that bone.
If the bone is more dense that does not mean it is stronger.
Usually it is not stronger because bone strength depends on the quality of the formed structures and if some drug blocks the bone resorption (destroying the old bone structures and building the new) the old bone structures will make the bone more fragile even though the scan your doctor performs looks better since the bone is more dense than it was before the patient was on the drug.
Vitamin D3 is a very powerful supplement
Blaming one vitamin for having some bad effects is just as bad as saying one vitamin will cure everything.
The balance is still the key – adequate calcium intake, magnesium intake and vitamin D3. Since vitamin D increases the calcium absorption from the intestines it is vital for the health of the bones. If there is a deficiency of vitamin D the body releases the parathyroid hormone which stimulates the bone resorption and release of calcium into the blood. This is the one significant way how the deficiency of calcium due to low assimilation from diet may lead to osteoporosis.
I couldn’t find any scientific reference about the magnesium depletion caused by vitamin D3 supplementation anywhere. So if you knew about any scientific data which would prove the negative effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on magnesium levels, please share it in the comments below.
1) Pointillart A, Denis I, Colin C. Effects of dietary vitamin D on magnesium absorption and bone mineral contents in pigs on normal magnesium intakes. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar;8(1):19-26.
2) Hodgkinson A, Marshall DH, Nordin BE. Vitamin D and magnesium absorption in man. Clin Sci (Lond). 1979 Jul;57(1):121-3.
3) Ito M, Cho BH, Kummerow FA. Effects of a dietary magnesium deficiency and excess vitamin D3 on swine coronary arteries. J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Apr;9(2):155-63.
4) Ito M, Sekine I, Kummerow FA. Dietary magnesium effect on swine coronary atherosclerosis induced by hypervitaminosis D. Acta Pathol Jpn. 1987 Jun;37(6):955-64.
5) Farhanghi MA, Mahboob S, Ostadrahimi A. Obesity induced magnesium deficiency can be treated by vitamin D supplementation. J Pak Med Assoc. 2009 Apr; 59(4):258-61.
6) Medalle R, Waterhouse C, Hahn TJ. Vitamin D resistance in magnesium deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr. 1976 Aug;29(8):854-8.
7) Tiina Keisala, Anna Minasyan, Yan-Ru Lou, Jing Zou, Allan V. Kalueff, Ilmari Pyykkö, Pentti Tuohimaa. Premature aging in vitamin D receptor mutant mice. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 115 (2009) 91–97
8) Fuss M, Cogan E, Gillet C, Karmali R, Geurts J, Bergans A, Brauman H, Bouillon R, Corvilain J. Magnesium administration reverses the hypocalcaemia secondary to hypomagnesaemia despite low circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1985 Jun;22(6):807-15.
9) Rude RK, Adams JS, Ryzen E, Endres DB, Niimi H, Horst RL, Haddad JG Jr, Singer FR. Low serum concentrations of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D in human magnesium deficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1985 Nov;61(5):933-40.