VITAMIN D: MAG OTHER COFACTORS

Vitamin D Newsletter July 2009:

More Vitamin D Questions and Answers:

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Apparently, Mg is better absorbed from foods than from supplements and Mg absorption varies with the degree of Mg deficiency. Mg is at the heart of the chlorophyll molecule, which is why green vegetables are a good Mgsource. Other good sources are nuts, seeds, whole grains, dried fruit, and some fish. The richest source by far on a per gram basis is dried seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, containing between 340–535 mg per 100 gram serving. High Mg foods were probably staples of Paleolithic man. 

Magnesium (Mg) is the forgotten mineral, an “orphan,” as Professor Robert Heaney of Creighton University says. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, for it is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions. All the enzymes that metabolize Vitamin D requireMg. It is also required in each of the steps concerned with replication, transcription, and translation of genetic information, and thus it is also needed for the genetic mechanism of action of Vitamin D.   

Besides these two reviews, any scientist interested in Vitamin D and the immune system should read Interactions between magnesium and vitamin D: possible implications in the immune system.

Two interesting cases of Mg dependent Vitamin D-resistant rickets appeared in theLancet in 1974. Two children, one age two and the other age five, presented with classic rickets. 600,000 IU of Vitamin D daily for ten days did not result in any improvement in six weeks—in either x-rays or alkaline phosphatase—and the doctors diagnosed Vitamin D-resistant rickets. Almost by accident, serum Mg levels were then obtained, which were low in both children. After the treatment with Mg, the rickets rapidly resolved. 

What does that mean? How can one treat rickets with Mg? Remember, these children took a total of 6 million units, that’s a total of 6,000,000 IU of vitamin D over ten days (it was given as injections so we know the children actually took it). Thus, they had plenty of vitamin D but, in their cases, the vitamin D needed Mg to work.

In 1976, Dr. Ramon Medalle and colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine described five patients with Mg deficiency and low blood calcium whose calcium blood levels would not return to normal after Vitamin D treatment, a condition known as Vitamin D resistance. However, serum calcium promptly returned to normal in all five patients after treatment with Mg, raising the possibility that such Vitamin D resistance may be caused from simple, but severe, Mg deficiency. 

What is not known is how mild to moderate Mgdeficiencies (like most Americans apparently have) affect Vitamin D metabolism. The safe thing to do is to eat green leafy vegetables and a handful of sunflower seeds every day (Trader Joe’s sells a variety of seeds). If you can’t, won’t, or don’t end up doing that, then take a Vitamin D supplement with added Mg.

In fact, there are now supplements on the market that contain all the co-factors vitamin D needs to work properly (including magnesium): zinc (the base of the fingers of the Vitamin D Receptor each contains a zinc molecule), Vitamin K2 (Vitamin K helps direct Vitamin D to calcify the proper organs and prevents calcification of improper organs), boron (boron is involved in the rapid, non-genomic action of Vitamin D on the cell wall), and a tiny amount of Vitamin A.

Again, the wisest thing to do is to eat raw green leafy vegetables and a handful of seeds every day as that combination contains the co-factors Vitamin D needs. Please note that this will help supply the body with the nutrients that vitamin D needs, but is not satisfactory to prevent or treat the deficiency of these nutrients in which so many Americans are deficient.

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