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Foods High In Magnesium Are Essential For Quality Bone Building

North America diets often fail to include enough of the foods high in magnesium to meet the recommended daily allowance.

Getting enough magnesium is vitally important for building high quality bone mass that is not brittle and subject to fractures.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends a dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium of 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men over thirty.

Slightly more is recommended for women during pregnancy.

Insufficient magnesium can result in low blood calcium levels, resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH) action, and resistance to some of the effects of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and a strong immune system.

Unfortunately, data from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) suggests that substantial numbers of adults in the United States fail to get recommended amounts of magnesium in their diets.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are very general and may easily be overlooked or misdiagnosed.

Fast food meals and diets that contain large amounts of processed goods rarely have enough foods high in magnesium that will provide the levels needed for healthy bones.

Foods High In Magnesium

So which foods should we include in an osteoporosis treatment or prevention diet?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Center provides an excellent list of foods high in magnesium.


  • Halibut (1/2 fillet, 159 g) 170 mg.
  • Haddock (1 fillet, 150g) 75 mg.
  • Flounder and Sole (1 fillet, 127 g) 75 mg.

Beans And Legumes (1 Cup, Canned)

  • White Beans: 134 mg.
  • Lima Beans: 101 mg.
  • Refried beans: 96 mg.
  • Lima beans: 94 mg.
  • Beans (pork and sweet sauce): 84 mg.
  • Kidney beans: 80 mg.
  • Lentils: 71 mg.
  • Chickpeas: 70 mg.

Roasted Nuts (1 oz)

  • Brazil Nuts (6-8 nuts) 107 mg.
  • Cashews (18 nuts) 77 mg.
  • Almonds (18 nuts) 76 mg.

Vegetables (1 Cup Cooked)

  • Spinach 157 mg.
  • Beet Greens 98 mg.

Cereal (1 Cup)

  • All-Bran Cereal (Kellogg): 218 mg.
  • Wheat flour: 166 mg.
  • Cornmeal, whole grain yellow: 155 mg.
  • Oat bran (cooked): 88 mg.
  • Raison Bran (Kellogg): 77 mg.

If our diet does not include these magnesium rich foods, there are many calcium supplements that also include magnesium.

Calcium And Magnesium Supplements

Since magnesium works closely with calcium, it is important to have an appropriate ratio of both minerals in order for them to be effective. A good rule of thumb is a 2:1 calcium-to-magnesium ratio. Magnesium side effects are rare except at very high intakes.

Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms including magnesium oxide, magnesium gluconate, magnesium chloride and magnesium citrate. Magnesium hydroxide is used as an ingredient in several antacids and magnesium may also be found as a chelate.

(Chelation combines the magnesium with an organic molecule to improve bioavailability – the amount of magnesium that is absorbed in the intestines and becomes available to your cells and tissues.)

Studies have shown that magnesium chloride and magnesium lactate have the highest bioavailability. Enteric coating (the outer layer of a tablet or capsule that allows it to pass through the stomach and be dissolved in the small intestine) can decrease the bioavailability of a magnesium compound.

Puritan's Pride Bone Care is a coated supplement that costs approximately $30 for a year's supply and provides the following ingredients per tablet:

  • Calcium: 600 mg (calcium carbonate and calcium gluconate)
  • Magnesium: 150 mg (magnesium oxide and magnesium gluconate)
  • Vitamin D3: 400 IU
  • Vitamin K1: 50 mcg

To learn how foods high in magnesium support an osteoporosis prevention program... visit Osteoporosis Treatment Guidelines.

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