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Glucosamine vs. Cal Mag?

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Well, it's certainly not "either or". Personally, I'd start with cal/mag *plus* vitamin D. (Particularly since you live in a Northern latitude and keep most of your skin covered, you're particularly at risk for low vitamin D. This is something I worry about because of my own experiences -- and I'm living much further south and exposing a lot more skin to the sun and still woefully deficient. Getting my vitamin D closer to acceptable levels has made a big difference in joint pain for me. And Calcium and magnesium and vitamin D all work together.)


If you're doing that and still need extra support, particularly if you have arthritis, give the glucosamine a shot. But start with calcium/magnesium *and* vitamin D. (I take 1,000iu per 25lbs of body weight each day. So a 100lb person would take 4,000iu per day and a 150lb person would take about 6,000iu per day. Much easier to take in "drops" that you can just drop into a glass of water than in pill form.)

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What's your opinions on taking Glucosamine (an amino acid) versus a good Calcium Magnesium as a supplement to combat joint pain?

Nadia, here's lots and lots of info. Probably far more than you asked for ;).


Glucosamine sulfate - a safe, natural anti-inflammatory supplement that has no side effects.

Most studies show that 500 mg taken three times a day is sufficient.

Be patient. It could take two or three months before you feel a difference.

Some people take glucosamine sulfate alone; others take it with chondroitin sulfate. These nutrients do help – especially glucosamine sulfate.

Good for arthritis

Only glucosamine sulfate has been scientifically shown to have any efficacy whatsoever. But, glucosamine HCI is really, really cheap.


Glucosamine is a natural substance classified by the FDA as a dietary supplement, which means that it is available over-the-counter without the safety and efficacy testing required of drugs. Furthermore, there is no quality control so consumers cannot count on the supplement containing the ingredients or the amount listed on the label. Studies conducted with glucosamine in standardized doses show that it is safer than OA drugs and just as effective in alleviating pain. Most intriguing, glucosamine appears to slow the progression of OA.

The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 16 randomized, controlled trials ( RCTs ) and evaluated the effectiveness and safety of glucosamine for people with OA. In 13 RCTs in which glucosamine is compared to a placebo, glucosamine was found to be superior in all but one trial. In the four RCTs in which glucosamine was compared to a NSAID, glucosamine was found to be superior in two and equivalent in two. This review concluded that further research is needed to confirm the long-term effectiveness and safety of glucosamine. Few of the RCTs lasted more than six weeks. Glucosamine appears to be far safer than NSAIDs and acetaminophen—based on the mostly short-term results of these RCTs .

One RCT in this review found that the people taking a placebo showed a progressive joint-space narrowing that did not occur among those taking glucosamine. Symptoms worsened slightly in the placebo group, but the significant lessening of pain and disability was sustained for three years among those taking glucosamine.

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Magnesium is a key mineral that many are deficient in.

Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff -- whether it is a body part or an even a mood -- is a sign of magnesium deficiency.


Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency:

Anal spasms







Blood Clots

Bowel Disease

Cardiac Arrhytmias (rapid heartbeat)

Chronic fatigue


Craving for Chocolate (interestingly, chocolate is highest in magnesium of all foods)






GERD - Magnesium deficiency is one of the causes of reflux because magnesium helps the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach relax, allowing the food to go down.

Headaches - anything that feels tight or cramp-like

Heart Attacks

High Blood Pressure


Inflammation in the body and higher CRP levels


Irregular, Rapid Heartbeat

Irritable bladder

Irritable bowel syndrome


Joint Pain

Kidney Disease

Kidney stones

Leg Cramps

Menstrual cramps

Menopausal Disorders


Muscle cramps or twitching or spasms






Raynaud’s Syndrome

Reflux - Magnesium deficiency is one of the causes of reflux because magnesium helps the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach relax, allowing the food to go down.

Restless Legs

Sensitivity to loud noises

Sleep Disorders



Tooth Decay


Trouble swallowing

Unexpected Cardiac Death

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Bone density and overall bone health

Magnesium is key to good bone health, balancing calcium and converting vitamin D for better calcium absorption. Without enough magnesium, the calcium you take will not be absorbed. Unabsorbed calcium that is not excreted (and most isn’t) gets into your joints where it becomes arthritis or in your arteries where it becomes atherosclerosis. Taking more magnesium can prevent your blood vessels from calcifying and developing into atherosclerosis.



For most people on a healthy diet, 400 mg of Magnesium daily should be sufficient. But for those who have symptoms of deficiency (as previously listed), I would recommend more, but probably no more than 1200 mg. Add in more magnesium gradually. Your body knows how much it can handle according to how much your bowels can tolerate. The stools should feel soft, but not excessively loose.

Take in divided doses and with meals to ensure optimal absorption – preferably more at night

I have read that it’s preferable to not take magnesium at the same time as calcium. Others say that it’s fine. This is where I am confused. I think the former makes more sense.

The most absorbable forms are:

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Taurate

Magnesium Aspartate

Magnesium Malate

Magnesium Succinate

Magnesium Fumirate



Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium Carbonate

Magnesium Gluconate

Magnesium Sulfate

These are not absorbed well and are the cheapest forms


Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to Magnesium Glycinate.

People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor's supervision.







Brazil nuts

Brown rice


Dark Chocolate




Greens (including Collard Greens and Dandelion Greens)







Sea vegetables (seaweed and kelp – but make sure they come from non-polluted waters and are high-quality)



Whole Grains

Wheat bran

Wheat germ

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Taking a bath or a foot soak with Epsom salts is one of the best ways to increase the body’s absorption of magnesium. Epsom Salts are Magnesium Sulfate and are easily absorbed by the body.

Take a hot bath with up to 2 cups of Epsom salts and 1 cup baking soda (optional) to help draw toxins out of the body. Try to do this once a week, but for no more than 20 minutes. A foot soak can also be very beneficial.

Epsom salts are so helpful in bringing relief to:

• Arthritis pain, stiffness, soreness, and tightness of joints

• Muscle aches, pains and tenderness

• Painful bruises, sprains and strains

• Pain from over exertion as a result of exercise

• Insomnia and Sleep Problems

• Stress

• Insect Bites and Splinters



Diets that are highly-processed and refined – mostly white flour, red meat, and dairy – none of these have magnesium. Food processing removes much of the magnesium (as well as other minerals) that’s naturally found in certain foods.

Antacids and other indigestion medicines disrupt magnesium absorption.

Modern farming practices deplete magnesium and other minerals in the soil.

Medications including diuretics, birth control pills, insulin, tetracycline and other antibiotics, and cortisone lead to magnesium deficiencies.

Too much calcium often leads to an imbalance . These two minerals need to be in balance.


Refined sugar acidifies the body - requiring buffering with calcium which leads to bone loss.

Also, processed sugars strip the body of magnesium, which is needed for bone re-mineralization.

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Now here's the info that I have for Joint Pain:



Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Carlson’s Fish Oil – Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory


1500 mg Glucosamine and 1200 mg Choindrotin Sulfate 3 times a day- try it for 3 months and see if you notice a difference


40-80 mg Hyaluronic Acid (HA) – “Hyal-Jointâ€


A daily dose of B complex (50 mg) will restore spent energy


5 grams of the sugar D-ribose twice daily will stimulate the production of ATP, the fuel that powers your body’s tissues and muscles. People who suffer from excessive joint and muscle pain and fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain) often have low levels of ribose.



Often, dehydration causes joint pain, which progresses to stiff pain. Make sure you’re drinking enough water!


Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Flaxseeds – these are naturally anti-inflammatory

Green Tea - 4 cups of green tea daily with a squirt of lemon juice. Green tea can help reduce joint pain greatly.

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Some studies suggest it works to ease the pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also help with other inflammatory conditions, such as tendinitis. Try to consume a soupspoon of turmeric every day, with a pinch of black pepper and olive oil. You can use it in all your cooking.

Eat 1 cup a day of red or purple fruits, such as berries, cherries, pomegranates, red grapes – or drink 1 cup of juice without added sugar – these food-based antioxidants help ease inflammation and joint disease like arthritis


Eat cherries as often as possible. Consuming 20 a day (about 2000 mg of cherry fruit extract) has been proven to provide more pain relief than aspirin and other painkillers.

Cherries—when tart—and their juice are rich in melatonin, the antioxidant hormone that regulates circadian rhythms and helps promote sound sleep—without which we’re more likely to pack on pounds and develop diabetes and heart disease. Anti-inflammatory, low-glycemic, and radioprotective, tart cherries and their juice contain more melatonin than is found in human blood, finds Russel Reiter, PhD, at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Eat them fresh or dried, and mix a bit of tart cherry juice with water, particularly when you’re working out—to lessen joint inflammation from exercise.

Sesame Seeds provide plenty of copper, a nutrient essential for joint health – just don’t overdo copper

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ACUPUNCTURE helps with all sorts of pain, especially fibromyalgia


CHIROPRACTIC/MASSAGE – both help immensely with pain

Be aware that you should wait for any inflammation to subside before starting either.


HYDROTHERAPY has been proven to help with arthritis. No medicine on the market can rival the physiological effects of water. Warm to hot water eases joint pain by reducing swelling and increasing blood flow to fight inflammation.


Begin with a daily 10-minute walk, take up a gentle yoga class, or try the slow movement of Tai Chi. Doing Tai Chi twice a week reduces knee pain, as does strengthening your hips with conditioning exercises.

Water aerobics, gentle yoga, and swimming help also.


YOGA can provide great relief for achy knees


LOSING WEIGHT is key – even 5 extra pounds of weight increases the load on your knees tenfold


SLEEP - Get enough sleep. Your body needs a full night of quality sleep to fight pain. Sniffing lavender oil before sleep can help you.



More illnesses are caused by a need for magnesium than for calcium.

Arthritis and joint pain are caused by excessive calcium and insufficient magnesium.

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Negin, This was extremely useful. You have no idea. Dh just relented and took some Mag Cal (I know, not only Mag) for tons of the symptoms. However, I then noticed it also helps athletes and ds 16 has been having leg pain and cramps and has a few teen things going on, but now I can attest that Fish Oil, Mag. and cherries are good for his performance (and might also help him sleep!!).



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