Calcium and magnesium have a complicated relationship that is not fully understood. The human body needs adequate levels of magnesium in order to properly use calcium, and magnesium deficiency affects calcium metabolism and alters levels of certain hormones that regulate calcium in the body, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The two minerals may also compete with other and interfere with the other's function. For example, magnesium may prevent calcium from properly contracting muscles when the ratio of magnesium to calcium is incorrect.
Eat a balanced diet every day that includes good sources of both calcium and magnesium. Calcium is found in green leafy vegetables, dairy products and some citrus fruit, while magnesium is most abundant in green leafy vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
Try to eat high-calcium foods earlier in the day, and meals high in magnesium later in the day. The minerals are best absorbed when consumed separately because they compete for intestinal absorption, and magnesium may help promote sleep and is therefore preferable in the evening.
Include plenty of protein in your diet to improve your body's magnesium levels. Lean meats and fish are healthy sources of protein. Vegetarians can try beans and nuts.
Take a dietary supplement with a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. This ratio enables both minerals to be effective, according to Harvinder S. Sandhu, MD. If you are deficient in either mineral or suffer from a medical condition that impairs your ability to absorb either calcium or magnesium, you may need to adjust your intake of one or both minerals.
Speak with your doctor about other vitamin and nutritional supplements you may need. For example, vitamin B-6 is essential for the proper absorption of magnesium by the body, and a B-6 deficiency may lead to a magnesium deficiency, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.