The Crucial Connection Between Vitamin D and Magnesium: Why Deficiency is So Common

In this video, Dr. Alan Mandel discusses the importance of vitamin D and magnesium in maintaining optimal health. He highlights that many people are deficient in vitamin D due to lack of sun exposure, dark-colored skin, or poor dietary intake. However, he explains that magnesium plays a crucial role in converting inactive vitamin D to its active form and regulating vitamin D receptors in the body. Low levels of magnesium can lead to reduced absorption and utilization of vitamin D, resulting in various symptoms such as weakness in the immune system, fatigue, hair loss, and joint pain. Dr. Mandel recommends consuming magnesium-rich foods and getting vitamin D levels checked by a doctor for better overall health.

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Key Insights:

  • Millions of people are deficient in vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D plays a crucial role in strengthening the immune system, getting calcium into the bones, preventing cardiovascular disease, and aiding insulin.
  • Magnesium is a mineral that activates and metabolizes vitamin D in the body.
  • Low magnesium levels can prevent the activation of vitamin D receptors, limiting the absorption and utilization of vitamin D.
  • Low magnesium levels can lead to symptoms such as nausea, constipation, headaches, leg cramps, and weakness.
  • Foods rich in magnesium include chickpeas, tempeh, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, fatty fish, avocados, bananas, and brown rice.
  • The daily recommended allowance for vitamin D is 800 IU, but it is important to check levels with a doctor.
  • Recommended magnesium intake is 320-420 mg for females and should be increased due to potential depletion factors.
  • Magnesium levels can be affected by factors such as soil quality, stress, smoking, and cortisol levels.
  • Adequate magnesium is necessary for the conversion of vitamin D, but excessive use may deplete magnesium levels.
  • Both magnesium and vitamin D are essential for optimal health.
  • Eliminating processed foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are important for overall health.
  • Consulting a doctor and getting vitamin D levels checked is recommended if experiencing symptoms or problems.


I am holding vitamin D3 in my hand right here. As I come close to the camera, you can see that vitamin D capsule right there. And why are we talking about this? Because so many millions of people are deficient in vitamin D. Yes, we can get our Vitamin D from being in the sun, but the sun does have its repercussions of potentially causing skin cancers and other issues. Obviously, if you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of sun, if you have dark-colored skin, if you’re not getting the right foods into your body that have vitamin D, we can fall behind quite easily.

Vitamin D plays so many different important functions in our body. It strengthens our immune system, gets calcium into the bones, helps prevent cardiovascular and heart disease, and has a direct role with insulin in helping to get sugars into our cells. It affects arthritis and the list goes on and on. But we do know it plays a tremendous role in our immune system.

But why is it that so many people are deficient in vitamin D? Is it because they’re not getting enough sun or not getting enough vitamin D? Ah, and that’s what opens up this topic. Because there’s one mineral that’s involved in 300 different enzymatic functions. It’s called magnesium, and that is the one mineral that plays a crucial role in the metabolism and activation of vitamin D in our bodies.

This conversion occurs in our kidneys, where magnesium helps convert the inactive form of vitamin D into the active form that the body can then utilize, so it can go to work. And magnesium is involved in the regulation of vitamin D receptors, which are found throughout our entire body and play a significant role in the absorption and utilization of vitamin D.

When our magnesium levels are low, which is common in a great amount of our population, these receptors cannot be activated, not allowing vitamin D to go to work in your body.

When it comes to bone health, such as osteoporosis, even if you’re getting all this vitamin D and taking more than you need, you may still have this condition. The calcium matrix in the bones is getting weaker, more brittle, and more prone to fractures like hip fractures and compression fractures. This is where they do that bone density scan to determine how much calcium you have in your bones. But if magnesium is low, it’s not going to allow vitamin D to get that calcium into the bone.

Common signs of low magnesium include nausea, constipation, headaches, nighttime leg cramps, numbness or tingling in the legs or hands, general body weakness, as well as heart palpitations or arrhythmias.

On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency symptoms include weakness in the immune system, frequent sickness, feeling tired and fatigued, hair loss, muscle pain, and joint pain.

There are many foods that have magnesium, such as chickpeas, edamame, tempeh, soy nuts, tofu, almonds, cashews, other nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, dark leafy greens, fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), avocados, bananas, dark chocolate, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt, brown rice, and peanut butter.

The daily recommended allowance for vitamin D is 800 IUs, and there are supplements available with higher doses of 1000, 2000, and 5000 IUs. But in order to know your vitamin D levels, it should be checked with your doctor as a baseline.

Your magnesium intake should be anywhere from 320 milligrams for females to 420 milligrams for males, but in my opinion, it should be a little bit more. Other factors in our life can deplete magnesium even worse, such as the soil where the food comes from, stress, not excreting it, smoking tobacco, not sleeping correctly, and high cortisol levels.

Having a little bit more magnesium is important because we need magnesium to help the conversion of vitamin D to work properly in our bodies. But as we convert more vitamin D, we’re still losing more magnesium because it’s being used up to help the conversion of vitamin D.

Yes, it’s very complicated when you look at it from a physiological point of view, but the bottom line is that if you’re using more of something to make something work more, eventually it could become less. The bottom line is we need to be certain we’re getting enough magnesium as well as enough vitamin D so both of these minerals can work synergistically with each other for optimal health.

Please take care of your body, get rid of processed and refined foods, exercise, get enough sleep, keep cortisol and stress levels down, because they can really burn things out within your body. Get your vitamin D levels checked with your doctor because magnesium can be very hard to find in a blood test due to its low levels in the bloodstream. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, frequent sickness or other issues mentioned, please speak to your doctor.

I hope this video serves you well, and I wish you the best for you, your loved ones, and your family. Please leave your comments below, and most importantly, make it a great day.

I’m Dr. Alan Mandel.