Calcium and Magnesium Requirements

Calcium and magnesium belong to a group of nutrients called major minerals -- they are described as "major" because you need large amounts of them from your diet. Both minerals perform several functions in your body.


Functions of Calcium

Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in your body. Approximately 99 percent of the calcium in your body is located in your bones and the remaining 1 percent is located in your soft tissues and bloodstream. The most well-known function of calcium is keeping your bones strong and healthy. Calcium also helps transmit nerve signals, allows you to contract your muscles and plays a role in the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels.

Daily Requirements

The Food and Nutrition Board provides recommendations for calcium based on age. Adults between the ages of 19 and 70 should aim to consume 1,000 mg per day. Elderly adults age 71 and older need 1,200 mg per day. Meet your calcium needs by including yogurt, milk, cheese, broccoli, spinach, kale, beans, tofu and cabbage in your diet.

Functions of Magnesium

Magnesium aids more than 300 enzymes in producing chemical reactions inside of your cells. Your body also needs magnesium to convert the carbohydrates, proteins and fat you eat into usable energy. Magnesium also teams up with calcium to help your muscles and nerves function properly, help maintain healthy bones and ensure that your heart beats regularly.

Daily Requirements

Women age 19 and older should consume between 310 and 320 mg daily, whereas men of the same age need a little more -- between 400 and 420 milligrams per day. Dietary sources of magnesium include vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits, milk, meat, yogurt and eggs.


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