Calcium, magnesium, and zinc are three minerals that are vital to several bodily processes.
Though they occur naturally in a variety of foods, many people take supplements to help increase their intake.
Combined mineral supplements like calcium-magnesium-zinc have gained popularity recently, especially among people looking to improve bone density or other aspects of their health.
This article explores the benefits, uses, and side effects of calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements.
Benefits and uses
Calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements may offer a host of benefits.
While research on the combined supplement is lacking, studies on the individual minerals are clear and well established.
Keep in mind that calcium is consistently linked to only one of the benefits described below — bone health. Yet, research is ongoing, and taking it alongside zinc and magnesium is perfectly safe.
May support bone health
Calcium, magnesium, and zinc help strengthen your bones in a variety of ways.
Calcium is the main mineral in your bones, which hold more than 99% of your body’s calcium stores. Your body is constantly regenerating its bone tissue, so it’s important to consume an adequate amount of this mineral daily.
Zinc also helps comprise the mineral portion of your bones. In addition, it supports bone-building cells while inhibiting the formation of cells that encourage bone breakdown.
Finally, magnesium plays a key role in converting vitamin D into its active form, which aids calcium absorption.
May elevate your mood
Magnesium and zinc are fundamental to brain signals and processes.
If you don’t meet the daily recommendations for these minerals, taking supplements may help elevate your mood.
A review of 18 studies suggests that taking magnesium may reduce feelings of anxiety among people prone to this condition. That said, researchers pointed out that none of the studies used a validated measure of subjective anxiety symptoms.
Furthermore, a recent analysis on depressive symptoms noted that magnesium supplements had little effect in controlled studies despite showing promise in observational studies.
Meanwhile, a study in over 14,800 people revealed that people who met the recommended zinc intake were 26% less likely to have depression than those who didn’t meet this intake.
Due to conflicting findings, more research is needed in this area.
May strengthen immunity
Magnesium and zinc may boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. While inflammation is a normal immune response, chronic levels of it can damage your health and promote illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to reduce markers of chronic inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6).
Conversely, magnesium deficiency has been linked to chronic inflammation.
Zinc plays an important role in the development and function of many immune cells. Supplementing with this mineral may help combat infections and aid wound healing.
May help control blood sugar levels
Magnesium and zinc may also regulate your blood sugar levels.
An analysis of 32 studies in 1,700 people revealed that taking zinc significantly reduced levels of insulin, fasting and post-meal blood sugar, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) — a marker of long-term blood sugar control.
Another analysis of 25 studies in over 1,360 people with diabetes found that supplementing with zinc reduced HbA1c as much as metformin, a common diabetes drug.
Moreover, research suggests that magnesium may aid blood sugar control in people with diabetes by enhancing your body’s ability to use insulin — a hormone that moves sugar from your blood into your cells.
An analysis of 18 studies in people with diabetes indicated that magnesium supplements were more effective at reducing fasting blood sugar levels than a placebo. Plus, blood sugar levels dropped significantly in those at risk of this condition.
May improve sleep quality
Both magnesium and zinc may improve your sleep quality.
Studies show that magnesium helps stimulate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you feel calm and relaxed.
Plus, human and animal studies associate zinc supplements and higher blood zinc levels with improved sleep quality.
A small 8-week study in older adults with insomnia revealed that a daily regimen of zinc, magnesium, and melatonin — a hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock — helped people fall asleep faster and enhanced sleep quality, compared with a placebo.
Does this supplement have side effects?
Currently, no side effects have been reported from calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements.
However, moderate to high doses of these individual nutrients are associated with various adverse effects, including :
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach pain and cramps
- loss of appetite
- muscle weakness
- numbness and tingling
If you experience any of these symptoms, consider lowering your dosage or consulting your healthcare provider.
Because calcium overdoses are linked to kidney stones and a higher risk of heart disease, it’s especially important to stick to the dosage recommendations on the packaging.
Plus, it’s worth noting that calcium competes with magnesium and zinc for absorption. If you’re deficient in any of these minerals, consider taking these micronutrients separately and spacing them out between meals.
Calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements are mainly available in capsule form, though some companies also sell powdered versions
Shop for calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements online.
The typical daily dosage recommendations for these nutrients are:
- Calcium: 1,000 mg — 100% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Magnesium: 400–500 mg — 100–125% of the DV
- Zinc: 15–50 mg — 136–455% of the DV
To reach these amounts, you would need to take 2–3 calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements over the course of the day.
The variations in dosage — and that of zinc in particular — owes to the fact that these minerals come in numerous formulations.
For example, zinc is available in several forms, each of which contains different amounts of elemental zinc — the kind that your body can use. Thus, calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements that list a high dose of this mineral tend to contain forms that provide less elemental zinc.
Remember to take no more than the dosage recommended on the packaging to reduce your risk of side effects. When zinc is taken in the absence of a deficiency, it can also interfere with copper absorption and cause a copper deficiency.
In general, most people don’t need to take a calcium-magnesium-zinc supplement because you can get sufficient amounts of these nutrients through your diet.
These minerals are found in high amounts in the following foods:
- Calcium: dairy, leafy vegetables, legumes, and canned fish
- Zinc: leafy vegetables, legumes, meat, and dark chocolate
- Magnesium: dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, leafy vegetables, and legumes
If you’re concerned you may be deficient in any of these nutrients, talk to a health professional who can test your levels and determine whether you should eat more of these foods or take a supplement.
The bottom line
Calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements contain three nutrients that may support bone health, mood, immunity, blood sugar control, and sleep quality.
Though they’ve garnered popularity among those looking to build bone strength, you likely don’t need to take a supplement as long as you get enough of these minerals through your diet.
If you’re unsure whether calcium-magnesium-zinc supplements are right for you, talk to your healthcare provider.
Remember that a typical dosage is 2–3 capsules per day. You shouldn’t take more than the dosage listed on the label.