Calcium has always been associated with strong bones, but reports that magnesium may also play a significant role on bone development.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston recruited 63 healthy kids between ages four and eight. The participants were asked to keep food diaries, and were later hospitalized twice overnight, so researchers could measure how much of the nutrients were absorbed by their bones using non-radioactive forms of calcium and magnesium called stable isotopes.

Results showed that the levels of magnesium present in the body were accurate indicators of how much bone the children had. Interestingly, calcium intake was not greatly related to bone mineral content or density. Despite this, calcium is still a much-needed mineral that may lessen the risk of fractures and rickets.

"We believe it is important for children to have a balanced, healthy diet with good sources of minerals, including both calcium and magnesium," says lead author Steven A. Abrams MD, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Magnesium is present in almonds, bran, salmon, and dark chocolate.

(Photo by HealthAliciousNess via Flickr Creative Commons)

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