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Calcium & Magnesium for Weight Loss

By Karen S. Garvin

Calcium and magnesium are two essential dietary minerals. You need calcium and magnesium not only to build strong bones and healthy teeth, but also because both minerals play complex roles in creating enzymes and hormones and producing energy for your body. Ensuring that you get enough calcium and magnesium in your diet may help you manage your weight and may also contribute to weight loss; however, you should consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Be sure to balance your diet with adequate exercise and rest.

Calcium

Calcium is the most common mineral in your body and is found in your bones and teeth. It is also important for proper muscle contraction and helping your blood vessels to expand and contract properly, according to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium is involved with enzyme and hormone production and in the transmission of nervous system impulses. Calcium is found is a variety of foods, with the most common being dairy products like cheese and milk. Vegetable sources of calcium include seaweed, spinach, kale and peppers. Eat a variety of foods that contain calcium to ensure that you get enough in your diet. The recommended dietary allowance of calcium for adults is 1,000 mg per day, the ODS reports.

Calcium and Weight Management

Calcium may play a role in weight management and weight loss, but the research findings are mixed. The ODS cites several studies showing that consuming high levels of calcium contributes to weight loss. However, clinical trials have yet to support the research. Scientists are not sure how calcium is involved in weight loss, and two theories have been advanced. The first is that calcium may bind with fat in the intestines and prevent your body from absorbing it. The second theory is that calcium may inhibit the production of hormones that cause fat to accumulate in your body.

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Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth-most-common mineral in your body and is found in every organ. It contributes to energy production and activates enzymes. One of magnesium’s jobs is to help regulate the amount of calcium and other minerals in your body. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that most Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, although true magnesium deficiency is rare. Dark green vegetables, nuts, beans and peas, rice and bananas are some sources of magnesium. The recommended dietary allowance of magnesium for adults is between 320-420 mg per day, the ODS notes.

Magnesium and Weight Management

Magnesium is essential in digestive processes and activates enzymes that let your body absorb and use the food you eat. It helps to regulate your metabolism, which in turn may help you to burn more calories. Magnesium is also involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate, the body’s source of energy. It’s possible that a diet that includes sufficient magnesium allows you to rev up your metabolism and produce enough energy so you move more, thus helping to burn calories. The Nutritional Magnesium Association suggests that magnesium may prevent obesity by keeping certain genes from turning on.

Calcium and Magnesium Supplements

It may be difficult for you to get enough magnesium in your diet, so taking a supplement might be a good choice. Magnesium and calcium work synergistically, so choose a supplement that will provide both of these essential minerals. Many calcium and magnesium supplements also include vitamin D, which works with magnesium to help your body absorb calcium. As with any dietary supplement, follow the dosage instructions and ask your doctor or a nutritionist if you have any health concerns.

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