Ok so I'm not entirely clear on the calcium/magnesium situation. I'm definitely not getting a 1:1 ratio of them as is sometimes suggested.
It seems like taking loads of magnesium is not only safe, but could actually lower your calcium requirements. I don't take loads of magnesium but I do supplement it liberally and I do NOT supplement calcium. According to CRON-O-Meter, I don't get quite enough calcium so I'm going to aim for more of that through diet but I don't want to supplement it and I DO want to supplement magnesium (helps with constipation). Re-reading that paragraph it looks confusing but the issue IS confusing, hence my post.
Seems like I'm in the green. Am I missing something?
I konw it's been covered, for instance here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/144083/does-magnesium-compete-with-calcium.html#axzz2iNYeYngA but it still left me scratching my head.
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I think us paleo folks need more calcium in general.
Yes (sorry for replying like this, my comment was rejected as too long), back in my vegetarian days I came across at least two papers on the subject. It is a neolithic way to improve mineral absorption. Basically, anything acid with anything that is absorbed poorly. Acetic acid with greens is but one example. High ascorbic acid (say, kiwi) fruit at the end of a meal. Pasta with tomato sauce. The absorbable acids bind to minerals, and basically compete with phytic or oxalic acid. Numerous civilizations have this way of eating (fruits at the end of a meal, or acidic food combinations).
In regard to your bacteria, they can be changed. Of course we are very ignorant about them, but there is hope for the future.
Since I reviewed the other answer page you linked, I'll try to keep this a bit simpler without oversimplifying.
Calcium and magnesium work together to form a bio-chemical pump in and out of cells. The two minerals do need to be in some sort of balance, but as you've read, there's a debate about how much you need. The issue is muddier when you consider those on a paleo diet, because they're not eating the things that make you excrete calcium, e.g., sugar, and they tend to do things that help bone density, e.g., weight-bearing exercise. The end result is that there are conflicting opinions about the optimal ratio for people on a paleo food plan and very few (if any) valid clinical studies to support those opinions. Frankly, I don't know what to believe on this score anymore. Perhaps other, more informed people on this forum can chime in.
Second, the amount of calcium and magnesium you ingest doesn't indicate how much of each mineral you absorb/assimilate. As the other Paleohack page mentions, calcium in high-oxalate foods, such as spinach, is not bioavailable, so nutrition apps that use the USDA database aren't the best indicator of whether you're achieving your nutritional goals in this regard. Moreover, individuals differ in their abilities to incorporate these minerals into their bodies. If you're really interested in your internal status of these two minerals, you need to do two medical tests:
- Calcium: a blood serum calcium test. This is a standard test in any lab.
- Magnesium: the EXATest; this must be ordered by a healthcare provider.
The standard serum test for magnesium is not a good indicator of magnesium assimilation, because magnesium is primarily an intra-cellular mineral, whereas calcium is primarily an extra-cellular mineral. You'll need a healthcare provider willing to go "outside the box" to get the EXATest test kit.
It was through repeated EXATests that I found I'm very poor at assimilating magnesium. Taking 400 mg. of chelated Mg. supplements in addition to a diet rich in Mg. gets me into the lower end of the normal range of intracellular Mg. concentration. You might assimilate Mg just fine and not need any supplementation.
I hope this improves your understanding, even if it doesn't settle the matter.