In a previous article, My Parents’ Health & the National Health Service, I briefly mentioned that my mum had managed to cure her constant headaches by taking magnesium supplements. Just recently, while I was meditating, I had a lightbulb moment, where the penny suddenly dropped.

I suddenly realised that the reason why my mum had become deficient in magnesium is because she takes high strength calcium supplements. For several years, the doctor has been prescribing her high strength calcium supplements due to her osteoporosis,  which is due to old age.

Here’s the thing:

Calcium and magnesium work together. If you consume too much calcium without consuming adequate magnesium, you deplete your body’s magnesium levels.

According to nutritionist Patrick Holford, the ideal ratio of Calcium to Magnesium is 3:2.


Why? Well, aside from the fact that milk is meant for baby cows rather than adult humans (that’s probably a whole article in itself), milk is rather low in magnesium in relation to its calcium content.

Almonds are a good source of calcium and magnesium. According to the website, a 95g serving of almonds contains 251mg of calcium and 255mg of magnesium, as well as good amounts of other minerals.

Again, I would like to point out how pathetic it is that my mum’s highly paid GP didn’t even know that giving her high strength calcium supplements without also giving her magnesium would cause her magnesium levels to go down and for her to experience headaches which he was unable to treat.


If you’re sat there thinking, “Yeah, so what? Big deal! A headache’s not the end of the world, and besides, doctors aren’t nutritionists.”  Well, they should be. If a doctor has no proper understanding of how nutrients work in the body, that’s quite scary isn’t it? If he doesn’t know that excessive calcium causes low magnesium, and low magnesium can cause headaches that don’t respond to drugs…well, then, what else doesn’t he know?

How many people get put on unnecessary prescription drugs because their doctor was not adequately trained in nutrition? That’s not health care, that’s symptoms management. It’s just like painting over cracks in a damaged wall. Sooner or later the wall’s going to fall down, no matter how much you cover up the problem and pretend it’s not there.

On balance, my doctor was good when I injured my knee, and he referred me for physiotherapy. They’re very good with physical problems like that. But there are so many other health problems where their only answer is to prescribe a drug which will hopefully treat the symptom but will come with a long list of possible side effects.

Nutrients Work Together

Nutrients tend to work with other nutrients. As a general rule, if you take a high dose of a particular vitamin (for example vitamin C), make sure you also take a good high-strength multivitamin. If you take a high dose of an individual mineral, make sure you also take a good high-strength multi-mineral supplement.


  • Patrick Holford – the Optimum Nutrition Bible

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