calcium and magnesium balance

Magnesium, calcium and vitamin D supplements

calcium and magnesium balance

Calcium and magnesium are both essential minerals that function as electrolytes within the body. This means they help transmit electrical impulses between nerve and muscle cells. They also help balance the amount of fluid inside and outside of cells. (1) Calcium orotate is thought to be a helpful treatment for costochondritis.

rib cage illustration

Human rib cage

You are telling me!!! Have you ever suffered from costochondritis? It is the most bizarre kind of chest pain and electrical spasms in the chest area. Specifically the rib cage area on the onset of sleep. Last night I thought: ‘it is calcium’ however, I have since realised that it could also be magnesium, a deficiency of which may have been caused by taking a calcium supplement.

The aim of this post is to find out what the interaction between calcium and magnesium is and if this chest phenomenon which I assume is costochondritis is due to a lack of calcium or a lack of magnesium.

What causes costochondritis?

Firstly, most sources on the web suggest that this ailment does not have a cause. However, I have it on the authority of a naturopathic / GP that costochondritis can be caused by a lack of magnesium, and can be treated particularly well with magnesium orotate.

It did the trick last night. After ingesting the last of these supplements with a calcium supplement, the pain reduced to a slight buzzing sensation.

What is the relationship between calcium and magnesium?

It would seem across the web literature at least that it is very important to make sure that you are getting enough magnesium if you plan on taking a calcium supplement. And that taking calcium without sufficient levels of magnesium can lead to worse problems.

Magnesium affects the transport of calcium across cell membranes. (1) Furthermore, studies have shown that if magnesium levels are low, taking a calcium supplement can reduce magnesium absorption and retention. (2)

How much magnesium do you need every day?

Adult men ages 19 to 30 need 400 mg of magnesium per day. While men 31 or older need 420 mg per day. Women between the ages of 19 and 30 should intake 310 mg of magnesium per day. While those over 30 should increase their intake to 320 mg per day. (1) Here are some ways to get magnesium from your diet.

Calcium and magnesium balance

Magnesium, calcium and vitamin D supplements

Magnesium, calcium and vitamin D supplements

I would say we have our answer. If you are planning to supplement with calcium it is important that you are also getting enough magnesium. And since most of us aren’t, it would be a good idea to buy a good magnesium supplement like Bioceuticals – Muscle eze or another supplement that contains adequate magnesium. It is a good idea to supplement magnesium levels, for the ultimate purpose of being able to get calcium levels up to scratch.

Vitamin D also plays a part in calcium absorption. So it is important to get sufficient of this also.

Calcium orotate for treatment of costochondritis

This supplement contains calcium orotate for costochondritis as well as magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K.


1. Stephanie Chandler. Can Calcium be absorbed without magnesium? [Internet]; 2013; [Accessed 2013 Nov 1] Available from:

2. Ancient Minerals. 10 signs you are not getting enough magnesium. [Internet] LL Magnetic Clay Inc; 1996 – 2010; [Accessed 2013 Nov 1] Available from:

3. Nan Kathryn Fuchs, Ph.D. Magnesium: A Key to Calcium Absorption [Internet] The magnesium website; 2013. [Accessed 2013 Nov 1] Available from:

  • Glenda @ Healthy Stories
    Posted at 11:11h, 02 November Reply

    Hi Sarah. Costochondritis is an inflammatory condition and is often caused by trauma to the ribs, although the ‘trauma’ doesn’t have to be as bad as you might think. Three years ago I had pleurisy from a respiratory virus (I’m an asthmatic so have touchy lungs). Between the inflammation from the pleurisy and some severe coughing, I developed a very chronic costochondritis that took 8 months to heal. It is the strangest feeling and very hard to deal with chronic pain in your chest region, but mine required osteopathic manipulation to heal. Physio didn’t work because it wasn’t only muscular, but osteopaths can manipulate the ribs to help set things right. Other postural issues can contribute too, including tense back and shoulder muscles, and even tight abdominals – which can be caused from long hours seated at a computer. So you may want to consider looking into physical therapy as well as the supplements.

  • Sarah James
    Posted at 12:17h, 02 November Reply

    Thanks Glenda!

    I am sorry to hear that you had pleurisy and costochondritis, and very glad that you healed eventually.

    It is interesting that this condition can be caused by physical trauma. And spending too much time at the computer is surely an issue for many of us – especially those in my line of work – the web.

    Thanks heaps for the info. As far as my own experience with costochondritis goes, it is transient on the whole, although it is a good reason to work on posture!

    I am pretty sure in this particular case it can be attributed to a calcium supplement. I notice on your blog that you use a lot of rice milk. I am finding it hard to get enough calcium, but I have just bought some magnesium to take with calcium supplements, so hopefully this will reduce the night time phenomena.

    Thanks again for your thoughts 🙂
    Have a great day!! 🙂

  • Sara
    Posted at 06:50h, 13 February Reply

    Weird! I am suspecitng I have low or deficient magnesium with eyelid twitches and lip twitches I am having. But I was recently diagnosed with costochondritis! No apparent “cause” and no injury sustained. This may be my answer to several issues I am having! I sure hope so, because it seems easy to fix. Thank you!

  • Sarah
    Posted at 11:51h, 14 February Reply

    Hi Sara,

    Magnesium is also helping me with muscle spasms and with chest pains in the night. It is interesting that you got diagnosed with costochondritis as well!

    I hope it works out for you 🙂 xoxox Let me know how your magnesium goes?!? I know that not all magnesium supplements are created equal!!


  • darian
    Posted at 11:30h, 13 December Reply

    Is megnesium good for costocondritis? I have a severe case of it thanks. lots of chest pain been to emerge and heart is healthy and can’t find nothing on exray.

    • Sarah
      Posted at 11:41h, 13 December Reply

      Hi Darian,

      Although I did definitely find that magnesium helped my costochondritis and the problem is resolved now, at least in my case, I do think that a better nutritional profile, in general, did most of the work. At the time when I suffered from this condition, I was smoking. As smoking would have stripped my body of a lot of helpful vitamins and minerals, it would have exacerbated the issue.

      Taking a powdered and balanced magnesium supplement did help a lot, and this was the advice of my medical practitioner at the time. However, getting into better health generally by quitting any toxic substances helped a lot too.

      Good luck with your search. It is not a nice feeling, so I hope you get some relief soon!

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