Effects of dietary vitamin D on magnesium absorption and bone mineral contents in pigs on normal magnesium intakes

Magnes Res. 1995 Mar;8(1):19-26.


The effects of three dietary levels of vitamin D (500, 1500 and 3000 IU/kg diet) on magnesium metabolism and on some bone parameters related to bone mineralization were studied in vitamin D-repleted pigs fed normal magnesium intakes (0.2 per cent) for two months. Apparent absorption and retention was measured in 10-day balance studies (prior to slaughter) in three groups of four 10-week old pigs. Except for vitamin D, the pigs received the same diet which met the recommended dietary allowances for growing pigs. The highest vitamin D level used was only three times the recommended level in French pig husbandry. At slaughter, the fibula and two main metatarsals (right hind leg) were collected to determine bone breaking strength, apparent density and bone mineral (ash, calcium, magnesium) contents. Blood was collected to determine plasma concentrations of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D metabolites. Magnesium absorption increased linearly from 28-39 per cent intake with increasing dietary vitamin D. Urinary magnesium was not affected, thus magnesium retention also increased linearly as a function of vitamin D intake. Plasma calcium and magnesium were not altered by vitamin D. Plasma 25-hydroxycholecalciferol concentrations reflected vitamin D intakes, while plasma 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol was unchanged. Density, breaking strength and mineral contents of the bones were lower in the pigs fed 1500 or 3000 than in those fed 500 IU vitamin D/kg diet. This suggests that bone resorption was stimulated by the higher dietary vitamin D. Thus, vitamin D at physiological doses may enhance magnesium absorption in non previously vitamin D-depleted pigs fed diets with abundant magnesium. This nutritional situation may help explain the predominant bone-resorbing effect of vitamin D supplementation.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Calcitriol / blood
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Diet*
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Swine
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Vitamin D
  • Calcitriol
  • Magnesium
  • Calcifediol
  • Calcium