YOUR CHILD'S NUTRITION: Magnesium and Bone Health

As a parent, you’ve probably been told exactly how much calcium your child should consume in a day. At check-ups, your maternal nurse or GP ask you about your little one’s intake and stress the importance of calcium for optimal bone growth and health. However, research suggests that there’s another mineral that may have a greater impact on children’s bone health.

That mineral is magnesium. It’s an alkaline Earth metal and like all Earth metals, it originally came from aging stars. Those stars burst into supernovas, expelling their magnesium and other elements into the solar system where it was picked up and recycled by other star systems.

That’s how it ended up on our planet. Magnesium makes up 13% of Earth’s mass and it’s our eighth most common element. As a crucial part of our planet’s composition, Magnesium is also a vital food source for many of the plants that grow around us.

And, as it turns out, our bones may get the bulk of the benefits from those magnesium-rich foods. According to professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Steven A. Abrams, “Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium."

Dr. Abrams and his team conducted a study to determine the role of magnesium in bone health. Their findings suggested that “the amounts of magnesium consumed and absorbed were key predictors of how much bone children had. Dietary calcium intake, however, was not significantly associated with total bone mineral content or density.”

That’s not to suggest that calcium isn’t an important component of your kiddo’s diet. It just indicates that calcium shouldn’t be the only focus of children’s bone health and in fact, equal emphasis should perhaps be placed on magnesium intake.