Letter | Published:

Relation of Magnesium Ions to Calcium and Phosphate Absorption

Naturevolume 207page982 (1965) | Download Citation



CHEMICALLY, magnesium and calcium are related since both elements are members of Group II of the Periodic Table. Physiologically, however, in plants1 or in animals2 their actions are often antagonistic. It has been shown that magnesium-deficient rats absorb more calcium from the gastrointestinal tract than do control rats3 and the active transport of calcium ions across the intestinal wall of several species is depressed by magnesium ions4. These experiments indicate again a physiological antagonism between these ions and also suggest the possibility of a common absorptive pathway. However, the experimental conditions in the former study3 are abnormal since magnesium is an integral part of normal diets and magnesium deficiency may have caused changes in the intestinal mucosa which allowed more calcium to be absorbed. In vitro type experiments4 are, by their nature, unphysiological and extrapolations from such isolated systems to interpretations concerning overall calcium absorption in vivo may not be valid.

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  1. IRWIN CLARK: Recipient of career development award 5–K3–AM–15 374–03.


  1. Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biochemistry, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York



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