various beverages include coffee, ice tea, orange juice
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
December 22, 2023 ·  11 min read

5 Drinks That Effect How Well Your Body Absorbs Calcium and Magnesium

Did you know that studies have found that foods high in calcium or calcium supplements directly or indirectly compete with magnesium for absorption (Dai et al., 2007), and they should not be taken together if possible? One study found that adding 300 to 1000 mg of calcium to the diet significantly decreased magnesium absorption in participants consuming an average of 370 mg of dietary magnesium daily (Bohn, 2008). 

This article will outline some everyday drinks that can cause an imbalance or deficiency in these two powerful minerals, potentially leading to illness, diseases and dysregulations in the human body. 

Let us start with magnesium: it plays a role in over 300 functions in the body, with some newer studies suggesting that the number is closer to 600 (Bairoch, 2000) (Caspi et al., 2011), including participating in protein synthesis, muscle function, and nerve function. Magnesium also controls blood glucose and regulates blood pressure (Coates et al., 2010:527–37). 

Calcium is a vital mineral your body requires to build and support strong bones while performing many essential bodily functions. Calcium is also the most abundant mineral in the body. It has many health benefits, including lower blood pressure, most notably in young people, the prevention of osteoporosis, and decreasing cholesterol values (Cormick & Belizán, 2019).

Let us get into it: The five drinks that will be discussed in the article include soda pop (both regular and diet soda), alcoholic beverages, processed fruit juices, drinks and foods that contain high sodium content, and, yes, coffee, which is estimated that nearly 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide everyday. Coffee is more popular than tap water in Canada, with 71% of Canadians drinking coffee regularly compared to 63% of water consumption (Davis, 2023), and 87% of Americans consider themselves somewhat or full-on coffee-obsessed (Grant, 2023).

Carbonated beverages and Magnesium Absorption. 

Carbonated beverages, which include drinks such as seltzer water and soda pop, may contribute to a magnesium deficiency due to the carbonic acid in carbonated drinks, which can bind magnesium, making it hard to absorb. In addition to carbonic acid, a significant source of phosphorus is represented in soft drinks and beverages, which are rich in phosphoric acid and have been effectively increased in carbonated beverages and food sources over the last quarter of a century. It is one of the leading causes of reduced magnesium absorption ability in the body (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018). 

Alcoholic beverages and Magnesium Absorption.

Regular alcoholic consumption may lead to a magnesium deficiency since alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing an increase in urinary excretion of magnesium and other electrolytes. Moreover, a large amount of alcohol intake over time can deplete the body’s stores of magnesium, leading to a deficiency and eventually chronic illnesses (Rivlin, 1994), including diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis. 

Read: 17 Foods High in Magnesium You NEED in Your Diet (see list)

Studies have shown a steady diet high in sugar (fructose, glucose, or sucrose), commonly found in processed fruit juice, can significantly impact bone structural integrity, possibly leading to osteoporosis (Tian & Yu, 2017). Another study showed that regular consumption of soft drinks is a notoriously high source of added sugar and was associated with an increase in the risk of developing fractures, which may be partly due to the replacement of calcium-rich beverages (Wyshak & Frisch, 1994). That being said, a diet high in sugar may drive calcium deficiency, potentially leading to impaired bone formation by causing elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels (Terada et al., 1998). An additional study showed a diet high in fructose decreased intestinal calcium uptake significantly (Douard et al., 2010). 

High Sodium in Drinks and Food and their Effect on Calcium and Magnesium Absorption.

A diet higher in salt has been shown to influence more calcium loss excretion through the kidneys with an increased movement of calcium from the skeletal bone, increasing the risk of urinary tract stones (Cappuccio et al., 2000). It has also been revealed that men with a preference for salty food eating habits had a higher prevalence of osteoporosis (Salty Food Preference Is Associated with Osteoporosis Among Chinese Men=中国男性饮食咸淡嗜好与骨质疏松有关|airiti Library 華藝線上圖書館, n.d.).

Several epidemiologic studies suggest that increased dietary salt intake and decreased magnesium intake are related to hypertension, which is the leading risk of death in the world. In addition, high dietary salt is an essential contributor to elevated blood pressure (Chidambaram et al., 2014).

Caffeine and its Effect on Calcium and Magnesium Absorption

Three cups of caffeinated coffee or tea may decrease calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss. An inverse relationship between milk consumption and caffeine-containing beverages may partly explain the epidemiologic studies showing an adverse effect. Low calcium intake is associated with skeletal fragility. An inverse relationship between milk consumption and caffeine-containing beverages may partly explain the epidemiologic studies showing a negative impact. Low calcium intake is linked to skeletal fragility, and, likely, a high caffeine intake is often a marker for a low calcium intake. The researchers suggest that the high caffeine intake effect’s negative impact on calcium absorption is tiny enough to offset the adverse effects by adding as little as 1–2 tablespoons of milk to your favourite caffeinated drink (Heaney, 2002).

Cutting back on caffeinated beverages may be a good idea. The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that consuming three cups of coffee does not directly affect your body’s magnesium levels. However, it can halt the gradual absorption of magnesium in your intestines. The more coffee you drink, the less your magnesium absorption rate gets. However, a heavy dose of coffee can lead to magnesium depletion over time (Bergman et al., 1990).  

Read: A Natural Approach in Treating Early-Onset Dementia

Which Supplements can help Increase Calcium Absorption, and what are some Calcium-rich food choices? 

To experience maximum calcium absorption, the body also needs adequate amounts of vitamin D3 and K2 (Mk-7 is the most easily absorbed form of K2). Since most calcium-rich foods contain these additional nutrients, getting calcium from natural food sources instead of supplements is ideal. 

Calcium-Rich Foods for Your Health

  • Seeds, such as chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Greek Yogurt.
  • Sardines.
  • Canned salmon.
  • Beans, including chickpeas, white beans, and red beans.
  • Almonds.
  • And leafy greens, including collard greens, spinach, and kale.

Calcium Supplement and Other Supporters. 

Suppose you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet.

In that case, the NAKA Coral Calcium supplement is an excellent source of an alkaline form of calcium that can help support a healthy serum pH. In addition, coral calcium has naturally occurring trace minerals essential for bone health and optimal enzymatic activity. This Coral Calcium supplements is not harvested from living coral reefs or even from the ecological but from above-ground sources in an ecologically friendly manner.

Natural Factors Vit K+D is one of our favourite duos and an excellent way to get calcium-assisted supplements in your daily supplement protocol. Vitamins K and D tag team to provide the ideal ratio of these necessary nutrients in their most bioactive and bioavailable forms, giving double-action supporting calcium absorption to help bone and vascular health. 

Which Supplements can help Increase Magnesium Absorption, and what are some Magnesium-rich food choices? 

Studies have demonstrated that vitamin B6 helps control how much magnesium will be absorbed into the cells of individuals with severe/extremely severe stress (Pouteau et al., 2018).

Zinc and magnesium are synergistic minerals that can enhance absorption and maximize their overlapping benefits. They work so well together, as demonstrated by playing a role in a depression study (Dickerman & Liu, 2011).  

Magnesium-Rich Foods for Your Health

  • Dark chocolate.
  • Avocados.
  • Nuts include Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.
  • Legumes, including chickpeas, peas and soybeans. 
  • Seeds, including flaxweed, pumpkin, and chia seeds. 
  • Whole grains.
  • Fatty fish, including salmon, mackerel, and halibut. 

Magnesium Supplement. 

New Roots Magnesium Bisglycinate is gentle on your stomach and highly absorbable. This form provides the most glycine, ensuring easy absorption and resistance to insoluble substances. Magnesium is essential in over 600 different enzymatic functions in your body, from DNA synthesis and energy production to proper muscle function and nervous system health. 

NOW, Zinc Glycinate is a mineral co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions related to protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is essential to the normal function of many organs and systems within the body, supporting healthy immune, skeletal, neurological, and endocrine functions.

Natural Factors Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate is an innovative one-a-day formula featuring 50 mg of coenzyme vitamin B6 alongside a bioactive blend of phytonutrients for active support of the nervous system and energy metabolism. 

This article’s takeaway is understanding the relationship between calcium and magnesium. While these two minerals can safely be consumed together in a multivitamin or naturally occurring food source, studies have suggested that taking calcium and magnesium separately is ideal because they compete for absorption, especially if you have a deficiency or medical condition that requires the full benefit of both (Hardwick et al., 1991)—taking your calcium with your dinner meals and allowing 1 hour to 2 hours after your meal is suggested for taking your magnesium. We also learned that consuming different drinks can impede the absorption of these two essential minerals. Staying vigilant of your supplement timing and what you’re consuming with your calcium and magnesium can yield positive health presentation benefits while rescuing any health risk problems such as heart attack, strokes, diabetes, or osteoporosis.   

Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP. Doctor of Natural Medicine, Research Scientist and Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner

You can contact him on LinkedIn: Dr. Michael M. Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.

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