Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium: A Recipe for Healthy Bones

We’ve all been told to pay close attention to our calcium intake. Women in particular are warned about the dangers of not getting enough calcium, often told that skimping on milk and cheese could lead to weak bones and osteoporosis. It’s true that calcium helps increase bone strength and support the skeletal system, but unfortunately, there’s more to it than just increasing our dairy consumption.

Potassium and calcium

Calcium is stored in the bones, and therefore supports the skeletal system, but is also has the purpose of keeping our nervous system humming along correctly. This is a trait it shares with potassium, and the two minerals work together to keep our nerves healthy. According to Livestrong, potassium levels regulate how much calcium we lose through our urine and sweat. Potassium keeps our blood calcium levels in check so that we can store any excess calcium in our bones.

Magnesium: A third component

Magnesium works with calcium and potassium to promote bone health. According to the University of Maryland Center, magnesium is beneficial for pretty much every single organ and system in the body. Like potassium, it helps regulate calcium retention.

“Magnesium activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body,” the university says.

Recommended daily intake

So how much calcium, potassium and magnesium should you get each day? The National Institutes of Health recommends 310-320 mg and 400-420 mg of magnesium for women and men, respectively. You can get magnesium through green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

When it comes to calcium, woman and men alike need about 1,000 to 1,300 mg per day. In addition to dairy (which actually isn’t always your best calcium source), look for this nutrient in cabbage, kale and broccoli.

Finally, potassium. The Food and Nutrition Center of the Institute of Medicine recommends getting about 4.7 grams of potassium per day for adult men and women. You can find potassium in, of course, bananas—but that’s not your only option. The nutrient is also found in abundance in soy products, seafood, broccoli, peas and potatoes (leave the skin on for an extra-nutritious treat).

91 comments

Sue L
Sue L2 months ago

Nutrition plays a key role in building and keeping healthy bones. I'll have to check out strontium that JV mentioned. I am not familiar with it.

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Edith B
Edith B2 months ago

Thanks for the information!

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J. V. Tyler
J. V. Tyler2 months ago

People seldom mention strontium which is also a bone-builder. And of course, Vitamin D. I am 73 years old and actually added bone by 1) getting all my calcium through diet, 2) increased my D intake to 4000 IU's, 3) eating gluten free because I discovered I have sensitivity to gluten, and 4) taking a strontium supplement.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Brett C
Brett Cloudabout a year ago

Ty

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Brett C
Brett Cloudabout a year ago

Ty

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