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Electrolyte Relationships: Magnesium

In this post, the third in our series on the relationships between electrolytes, we will focus on magnesium. In the first blog post, we discussed the similar relationship between potassium and magnesium. The second blog post focused on calcium relationships.

You can find discussions about other electrolyte Relationships in two other blogs:

Electrolyte Relationships: Sodium and Potassium
Electrolyte Relationships: Calcium, Phosphorus, and Vitamin D

The Role of Magnesium

Magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including nerve conductivity, muscle function, and immunity. In addition to its relationship to potassium, magnesium also has a similar relationship with calcium and an inverse relationship with phosphorus. You should recall from the second blog post that calcium and phosphorus have an inverse relationship, which should help you remember that magnesium would have different relationships with each of these electrolytes.

The Relationship between Magnesium and Calcium

We will start with the relationship between magnesium and calcium, which also involves vitamin D as discussed in our last blog post. While calcium is needed for muscle contraction, magnesium is needed for muscle relaxation, so if you think about your heart beating, which requires contraction and relaxation, both of these electrolytes are incredibly important. Magnesium converts vitamin D from an inactive form to an active form. Vitamin D then increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This is similar to the relationship between magnesium and calcium. In fact, if you are low on magnesium, there is extra calcium in the body that can not be utilized, and this can cause conditions like arthritis.

Magnesium and Phosphorus

As calcium has an inverse relationship to phosphorus, magnesium also has an inverse relationship to phosphorus. The kidneys play an important role in magnesium reabsorption and excretion. As previously discussed, the kidneys also help regulate the phosphorus and calcium levels in the body. Thus, as the kidneys reabsorb more magnesium, they also excrete more phosphorus, which also raises the levels of calcium. This is why you often hear recommendations of magnesium supplementation along with calcium supplements. You should also monitor magnesium levels along with phosphorus levels in patients with renal dysfunction as the kidneys may have difficulty regulating these important electrolytes that all impact each other.

Electrolyte Relationships: Magnesium

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