High Doses of Vitamin D Can Deplete Magnesium

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Vitamin D is truly incredible. I could go on and on about the benefits of vitamin D for the body. But, while it’s good to get plenty of vitamin D, there is something about getting high amounts of it that you should be aware of. It’s possible that high doses of vitamin D can deplete magnesium. Magnesium is also important for the body, and a magnesium deficiency can cause a cascade of health issues. So, while you’re trying to not create a vitamin D deficiency, you could actually be creating a magnesium deficiency. But don’t worry, I’m going to fill you in on what you really need to know about vitamin D and magnesium.

In this article, I will cover:

A sign with “vitamin D” written on it surrounded by foods high in vitamin D | High Doses of Vitamin D Can Deplete Magnesium


What You Need to Know About Vitamin D

Vitamin D is incredibly important for your immune system, for keeping calcium in the bone, for decreasing inflammation, and much, much more. Vitamin D has so many amazing health benefits that many people take a good amount of it on a daily basis. But, high doses could start to lower your levels of magnesium. More on that later, right now, let’s talk a little bit about why vitamin D is so important.

Many people are aware that vitamin D helps regulate calcium and supports bone health. But, that's only a small part of what it does. The vitamin D receptor is responsible for 229 genes. So, this receptor has the ability to create a lot of different effects.

Vitamin D may be called the sunshine vitamin, but vitamin D is not really a vitamin. It’s actually something called a prohormone, which the body converts to a hormone. A really big function of vitamin D is immune modulation. This means that it can control and regulate your immune system to a great extent. If you’re deficient, you can become highly susceptible to infections.

A few benefits of vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D can help increase calcium absorption
  • Vitamin D can potentially help lower blood pressure
  • Vitamin D supports the immune system
  • Vitamin D could potentially help reduce asthma symptoms
  • Vitamin D can support a healthy mood

A vitamin D deficiency could potentially increase your risk of certain conditions, such as:

  • Dental problems
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Infection
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Bone loss
  • Neurological problems

A persons hand holding up a box with the abbreviation for magnesium on it in front of the other elements | High Doses of Vitamin D Can Deplete Magnesium


What You Need to Know About Magnesium

I believe magnesium is one of the most important minerals for the body. In fact, I believe it’s only second to potassium in how essential it really is. Magnesium is needed for everything from creating energy to supporting a healthy heart and mind. So, you can understand why a magnesium deficiency is a situation you definitely want to avoid. However, it’s estimated that about 50-75% of the population is not getting enough magnesium.

Magnesium is a cofactor involved in over 300 different enzymes that are responsible for many different biochemical reactions. As a cofactor, it acts as a helper mineral to activate those enzymes. Magnesium also has a very important function of keeping calcium from accumulating inside of the cells, kidneys, arteries, and joints.

Magnesium is essential for:

  • Muscle movement
  • Regulating the nervous system
  • Supporting high blood pressure
  • Helping you absorb vitamin D
  • Creating energy
  • Balancing calcium
  • Fighting inflammation
  • Improving sleep
  • Forming protein from amino acids
  • Relieving constipation
  • Regulating mood
  • Controlling blood sugar levels

Symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency:

  • Hyperirritability
  • Cramps, spasms, and muscle twitches
  • Constipation
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Chronic back pain
  • Migraines
  • Soft tissue calcium
  • Sleep problems
  • Arrhythmias

An exhausted businesswoman sleeping at her desk in front of her computer | High Doses of Vitamin D Can Deplete Magnesium


Vitamin D and a Magnesium Deficiency

As you can see, your body desperately needs both vitamin D and magnesium. In many cases, when people take high amounts of one vitamin, they don’t realize that it can potentially cause other deficiencies. In this case, if you take high amounts of vitamin D over a long period of time, without having enough magnesium, you could wind up with a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium works with vitamin D. They even share the same enzymes. Magnesium is also necessary to activate vitamin D. But, as you increase vitamin D levels, you could potentially decrease magnesium levels—intensifying a magnesium deficiency. Remember, magnesium helps calcium from building up where it shouldn’t. So, when you take high amounts of vitamin D without getting magnesium you could increase your risk of kidney stones, calcium build-up in the arteries, or calcium in the joints.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re a stone former, and you have lower back pain, so you take high amounts of vitamin D every day to help with that situation. If you’re not also getting enough magnesium, you could actually increase your risk of kidney stones.

If you’re getting enough magnesium from your diet, or you’re taking a good magnesium supplement, this is not really a situation you need to be concerned about. But, let’s say you hate vegetables, so you’re not eating those, and you aren’t taking a magnesium supplement—then you could increase your risk of developing a deficiency. Vitamin B6 is also important in this situation because it’s also a cofactor that helps both vitamin D and magnesium work.

But, again, here’s the thing. As long as you’re on a healthy diet, you don’t really need to worry about any of this. If you’re not sure what a healthy diet really looks like, you should definitely consider the healthy keto diet. If you follow the healthy ketogenic diet plan, and you consume seven to ten cups of vegetables every day, you should be in the clear.


Key Takeaways—Vitamin D and Magnesium

Getting plenty of vitamin D is essential for a healthy body. But, high doses of vitamin D without having enough magnesium, could cause a magnesium deficiency. A magnesium deficiency could then potentially lead to many different health issues. As you increase vitamin D, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium.

You can get magnesium by consuming vegetables. Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard are perfect choices. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, salmon, and avocado are a few other great magnesium-rich foods.

You definitely don’t want to end up with a magnesium deficiency or a vitamin D deficiency. Just because vitamin D could potentially cause a magnesium deficiency does not mean it’s bad. It just means that you need to make sure to also get plenty of magnesium. The good news is that as long as you follow a healthy diet, like the healthy keto diet, these deficiencies shouldn’t make your list of things to worry about.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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