The Calcium/Magnesium Ratio

The calcium/magnesium ratio on a hair mineral analysis can yield a lot of extremely valuable information. It is one of the most important ratios on a hair mineral chart. This article is somewhat lengthy because there is much to say about the calcium/magnesium ratio.


To understand this ratio fully, consider that calcium represents structure, compressive strength, and stability in the body. For example, in excessive quantity it can indicate defensiveness and a defensive or protective stance or posturing. Too much in the hair tissue is called a Calcium Shell.

Calcium is non-metallic, very stable, hard to compress, lacks tensile strength, sluggish, dull-looking, dense and heavy. Think of cement, which is mainly made of calcium compounds. Calcium is the main structural element of the human body and of the primate and other animal bodies.

Calcium is also a buffer element, a damper, and a sedative. This is very important to understand a low calcium/magnesium ratio. Calcium is very alkaline-forming in most compounds.

Magnesium is similar to calcium in some ways, but very different in others. It represents a bright, shiny, hot-burning quality. Some call it “the lion”, representing controlled power.

Magnesium is a metal, first of all, and it is very light in weight. It is somewhat more acid-forming, but still overall it is alkaline-forming. It is energizing, as it is needed for thousands of enzymes. It has excellent tensile strength, but not much compressive strength. It is bright and shiny in color and it burns very hot and bright. (In contrast, calcium does not burn at all).

While calcium is more like cement or concrete, magnesium is used in high-tensile-strength fine wires and to make highly flexible, light and strong bicycle frames, for example. Magnesium is also used to make flares that must burn brightly and hot. It is also used in fire starters for the same reason.

Structural strength versus enzyme strength. While calcium is not used in many enzymes in the body, magnesium is a component of thousands of enzymes. Unlike some metalo-enzymes, many magnesium-dependent enzymes cannot work using a substitute mineral. In other words, magnesium is essential for thousands of enzymes in the body and may be said to represent enzyme strength, while calcium represents structural strength or bone strength.

Solubility. Dr. Eck loved to point out that magnesium compounds tend to keep calcium in solution in animal bodies and structures. For example, if one becomes low in magnesium, one is more likely to form kidney or gall stones that contain insoluble forms of calcium. In this regard, calcium represents a congealing or cementing quality, while magnesium represents dissolution or flexibility.

Intra- and extracellular. Calcium is found mainly outside of the cells. Magnesium is found in greater quantity inside the cells.

Bowel function. Calcium is constipating, while magnesium is a laxative.

Related to this is that calcium is hydrophobic, while magnesium is hydrophilic. This means that calcium tends to dry out or expels water, while magnesium tends to attract water to itself and will attract water into the intestines, causing diarrhea in some cases.

Glandular interaction. Parathyroid hormone raises calcium, while thyroid hormones lower calcium in the blood and tissues to some extent. Magnesium is controlled to some extent by these glands. However, the pituitary gland plays a more important role in magnesium metabolism in some ways.

Nerve and muscle fiber relaxation and excitation. Calcium is required for nerve conduction and relaxes the muscles. Magnesium is not so involved in the nerves, as it is in the energy production aspect of a human being. This is rather important, as calcium stabilizes and balances the nervous system, while magnesium upsets it by producing fiery energy.

Yang and yin. The dense, heavy, congealing quality of calcium is more yang in macrobiotic terms. The light-weight, electrical and fiery expansive quality of magnesium is more yin in Chinese terms.

Foods. The main calcium foods are raw, unpasteurized dairy products, and there is some excellent calcium in carrots, some vegetables such as greens, sesame and other seeds, and in some in nuts and other foods.

Magnesium foods include whole, unprocessed, cooked grains, especially wheat and corn, and there is some in cooked vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

The carbohydrate ratio. The calcium/magnesium ratio has to do specifically with carbohydrates in the diet, rather than proteins, fats or other components. Carbohydrates are the main fuel food of the body used to generate energy and power.

In contrast, for example, the Na/K ratio has more to do with protein, not carbohydrates.

Electrical balance. In electrical terms, calcium represents a compressive pressure or voltage. Magnesium is tensive and more about amperage or intensity. Ohm’s law and Joule’s law apply here. For example, Joule’s law states that voltage multiplied by amps = power or watts.

Believe it or not, this is related to this mineral ratio. When the ratio becomes imbalanced, energy production or electrical output suffers.

Balances. Thus the Ca/Mg ratio has to do with various types of balances in the body.

The calcium/magnesium ratio is the lifestyle ratio. This means it is associated with the diet, attitudes, and lifestyle factors such as one’s relationships, location, occupation, friends and perhaps other lifestyle factors.

These are all lifestyle aspects of a human being. In contrast, the Na/K ratio has to do with more internal body concerns.

The father/mother ratio. Calcium represents the more yang, father energy. Magnesium represents a more maternal, yin energy. This is another more esoteric understanding of the Ca/Mg ratio, though it can be used in interpreting hair mineral analyses.

Both the Ca/Mg and the Na/K ratios have to do with the hearts concept. This is a more advanced nutritional/mineral balancing and acupuncture concept.

Pretense. Dr. Eck felt that the emotion or mental state associated with an out of balance Ca/Mg ratio is pretense or pretending. In other words, a person is not living outwardly in full integrity or unity with who he or she really is. For example, he or she is not eating the right food, or not doing the right job, or not living with the right people. Often one thinks one is different than who one really is. A high or low Ca/mg ratio often indicates false beliefs or improper attitudes, for example.

Bioavailability. Both calcium and magnesium can be in bioavailable forms, or they can become less bioavailable.

Calcium. Calcium can be replaced in the body with an amigo form of calcium. This is a more toxic form or oxide form that is more irritating to the body.

Similarities between calcium and magnesium. Both are divalent cations, both form hard compounds, and both have a mainly calming effect on the body, although magnesium is needed for energy production, as well.

Both elements are used to counter the effects of sodium and potassium, which are excitatory, monovalent elements, and both of which are powerful solvents in the body.

Commonly deficient today. Both calcium and magnesium are deficient in most Western diets today, and this is due mainly to food refining. The refining of grains removes a lot of their magnesium, and pasteurizing dairy products reduces the bioavailability of calcium in these products. I believe this is no accident, and that certain forces that want our people weak have pushed for the use of these harmful methods of damaging these major foods in most Western nations.

(Sodium and potassium are also unbalanced today. Most table salt is a highly refined product that is not worth eating. The form potassium found today in many foods, especially fruit, is also of poor quality due to the use of superphosphate or N-P-K fertilizers. These fertilizers contain toxic forms of potassium, as do food supplement and medical forms of potassium such as potassium chelate, potassium chloride and others. This is also damaging our health.)

These descriptions may seem esoteric or vague, but they can point the way to understanding the calcium/magnesium ratio very deeply. They can also help one appreciate the holographic nature of a hair mineral test. That is, the same item, the Ca/Mg ratio, tells one about physical, mental, emotional, movement patterns and other aspects of a person all at once.

Dr. Paul Eck was aware of many of these aspects, and used them to help him learn about this important ratio.


Dr. Eck felt that a healthful range for this ratio is about 3.3 to 10 in a hair sample that has NOT been washed at the laboratory. Washing will skew calcium and magnesium readings and is NOT recommended.

Overall, I have confirmed this over a number of years of testing hair samples. However, I prefer to use a slightly tighter ideal range of about 4 to 9.5. In fact, I prefer that the ratio be in even a tighter range of about 5 to 8 for optimum health.


Dr. Eck called the calcium/magnesium ratio the sugar and carbohydrate tolerance ratio because a high ratio, he felt, indicated that a person was eating excessive carbohydrates in the diet. These foods are most all fruits, juices, sweets, starches, grains, dried beans and a few vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams. Milk is also a very sweet food.

Overeating on these “fuel” foods can imbalance the delicate ratio between body structure and body movement or solubility. In most people, overeating on carbohydrates involves eating white flour and refined sugar, both of which have had most of their magnesium stripped away. Perhaps this could contribute to the imbalanced ratio as well.


An important note about this diet-related ratio. One person may “tolerate” many more carbohydrates than another. Thus, the calcium/magnesium ratio is not a measure of the exact quantity of carbohydrates in the diet. That which is too much for one person may be perfectly fine for another person whose carbohydrate tolerance is higher due to better health or other factors.

A diabetic trend? Dr. Eck also felt that when the ratio is greater than about 12:1 or less than about 3:1, a person has a diabetic trend. However, I have not been able to confirm this fact. When Dr. Eck spoke of diabetes, perhaps he meant a further derangement of carbohydrate metabolism, and not a high fasting serum glucose, for example.

I have found other meanings for an imbalanced calcium/magnesium ratio, as described below.



A hair calcium/magnesium ratio above about 13.5, especially on an initial hair mineral analysis when the hair is not washed at the laboratory, has a very specific and interesting meaning. It appears to indicate that a lifestyle factor is getting in the way of one’s health and needs to be released.

The lifestyle factor can be a job, a relationship, a location in a few cases, a habit or an attitude.

Habits. Habits that may skew this ratio are drug use, including alcohol and marijuana. This would indicate that these lifestyle habits are not benign, no matter what the person believes or what our health authorities or others teach.

Attitudes that need releasing. Examples of attitudes that often need to be released are anger, resentment, guilt and general negativity. In other words, any negative attitude. Underlying an imbalanced Ca/Mg ratio is also usually a stubborn attitude of holding on to the past.

That is, an important aspect of an imbalanced Ca/Mg ratio is that the person consciously or unconsciously defends the lifestyle factor or attitude that is holding him or her back. This defensiveness or stubbornness is the real problem. Often, the situation, habit or attitude no longer makes sense for the person. In this regard, the pattern may be described as one of “holding on after the need is over”. This can also be phrased as “a need to let go of something or someone”.

The pattern is called spiritual defensiveness simply to refer to lifestyle and attitudes, rather than a biochemical, dietary or nutritional type of holding on. In rare cases, the diet with excessive carbohydrates is a factor in a very high calcium/magnesium ratio, but not too often, in our experience so far.

The lifestyle ratio. In this regard, the calcium/magnesium ratio may be called a lifestyle ratio, especially if we include diet as a factor in the lifestyle. By this I mean that the calcium/magnesium ratio appears to have more to do with external events or circumstances in a person’s life, whereas the sodium/potassium ratio, by contrast, seems to have more to do with internal biochemical imbalances. This is a generalization, but it appears to be the truth.

A possible reason for this is that calcium and magnesium are more structural elements, particularly calcium. Magnesium is the “power” element that allows us to move and live. In contrast, sodium and potassium are the body’s internal regulators. They are more responsible for the biochemical balance, for example, than are calcium and magnesium. I know this is vague, but as we search for the meaning of various ratios and levels in the tissues, these simple understandings actually take on great meaning.

Another possible explanation is that calcium and magnesium indicate more about cellular situations, while sodium and potassium may have more to do with the cell membrane potential, something that is slightly different.

Movement or karmic aspects. A calcium/magnesium ratio above about 13.5 without an elevated sodium/potassium ratio signifies a need to move on in one’s life. This is what is called a movement aspect of this pattern. Interestingly, hair mineral patterns can often help a practitioner identify either a movement direction that is occurring or that needs to occur to clear the pattern.

This is most evident, perhaps, in the bowl pattern and the step down pattern. Both involve a high calcium/magnesium ratio so they may tell us more about this ratio:

The bowl pattern often indicates a person is defending his frustration and hostility, and thus feeling very stuck. One might say that the defensiveness of the high calcium/magnesium ratio is compounded by a low sodium/potassium ratio, which reinforces a type of stuck pattern.

In contrast, the step down pattern often indicates a person who is exhausted but is feeling a need to move on, and is doing so. In the case of step down pattern, the protectiveness and defensiveness of the high calcium/magnesium ratio is being used to good advantage to “cover” or protect the person in his or her effort to move on in life. Although one may be defensive, the high sodium/potassium ratio indicates an ability, both physically and perhaps emotionally, to move forward in life and experience some acute stress to do this.

Living a lie. This may be a description of the meaning of a calcium/magnesium ratio greater than about 20. This needs more research.


A Ca/Mg ratio between about 4 and 9.5 is acceptable. However, when the Ca/Mg ratio is less than about 4, most of the time it is not healthful. It is somewhat similar to an elevated ratio. Meanings can include:

1. Living in “a tizzy”. Other words for this are panicky, confused, disoriented, “freaked out”, or even somewhat hysterical. There is often intense rage or acute anger. In contrast, with a high Ca/Mg ratio above about 13.5, the anger is suppressed or chronic. It is interesting that BOTH an imbalanced Ca/Mg ratio and an imbalanced Na/K ratio have to do with anger and resentment.

2. Not coping well due to not enough buffer elements. To the person with a Ca/Mg less than about 4, life does not make sense. There is not enough of the buffer or damper element, calcium, to handle one’s life situation in the world.

3. A need to move on. Like the high calcium/magnesium ratio, there is a need to move on. Only with the low calcium/magnesium ratio, the situation or lifestyle factor has become so problematic, annoying or harmful, that it can lead to an attitude of wanting to die (see the paragraph below). This means that a low calcium/magnesium ratio is perhaps more life-threatening than a high calcium/magnesium ratio. It is definitely more acute, in this regard.

4. Giving up. Combined with a low sodium/potassium ratio, a low calcium/magnesium ratio is the giving up pattern or double low ratio pattern. This is a “death pattern” because the person wants to die. It is even worse in the special case of giving up pattern called the step up pattern. This is a visual pattern in which the first four minerals look like steps going upward to the right. Here death usually comes fast. It may indicate recklessness and a strong desire to harm oneself.

5. Celebration and overcoming. Oddly, when combined with an elevated sodium/potassium ratio, a low calcium/magnesium ratio indicates a hill pattern visually, which is a joy and celebration pattern. In this situation, there is a need to move on, coupled with the ability and willingness to do so. This creates joy and happiness as one looks forward to the next phase, and a happier phase of one’s life.

6. Always an ending of a situation. All the above are what may be called karmic or movement endings. A simple high or low calcium/magnesium ratio indicates a simple need to move on or change in some way because the need for a lifestyle, habit, attitude or something else is over.

Combined with a low sodium/potassium ratio, a low calcium/magnesium ratio indicates a death wish, which of course can be related to an end to life. The same is even more true of the step up pattern. The hill pattern is also an ending, but a happy ending.

NOTE: A death pattern does not mean that one must or will die. It only means that a death wish is present. In fact, a nutritional/mineral balancing program can always turn the death wish situation around. This would indicate that these death patterns have a lot to do with nutrition, or other factors that can be influenced easily by proper mineral therapy.

For example, a step up pattern is reversed quickly with copper and magnesium, and these alone. All other nutrients tend to be very harmful and can hasten death, in fact.


The following can occur on a retest:

1. An elevated calcium/magnesium ratio worsens on a retest. This indicates that a dietary or lifestyle issue is now more harmful to the person’s health and well-being. This might occur if the person slips on their diet and begins eating too many carbohydrates.

It could also happen if the oxidation rate speeds up (meaning one must not eat as many carbohydrates), yet the person keeps eating the same as before, so that now he or she is eating too many carbohydrates. This is quite common because most people do not realize they need to eat fewer carbohydrates and more fat when their oxidation rate increases into a fast oxidation state.

More spiritual defensiveness. The calcium/magnesium ratio could also worsen above 13.5 if a person is still using marijuana as their health improves, and this happens often!

It might also occur, for example, if one still needs a divorce as one’s health and ability to separate from a harmful relationship increases.

The ratio might also worsen above 13.5 if a person is still holding on to a negative attitude such as anger when there is clearly no need for it, and forgiveness is in order.

If the ratio goes from greater than 13.5 to even higher, it indicates that a lifestyle problem was present on the first test, but now it is more apparent, and the person needs even more to let go of the harmful diet, habit, situation, person or attitude.

If the ratio goes from normal (4 to 13.5) to higher than 13.5, it indicates that a situation, habit or attitude was not that harmful before, but now it is harmful.

2. An elevated calcium/magnesium ratio improves on a retest. Possible situations include:

On a retest, the Ca/Mg ratio changes from greater than 13.5 to a little less, but still greater than 13.5. This indicates that the person is addressing and changing his or her lifestyle, habit or attitude in a healthier direction. However, the change is not enough or not complete.

On a retest, the Ca/Mg ratio changes from greater than 13.5 to less than 13.5. This indicates the person has resolved the problem in his or her lifestyle, habits, or attitude.

3. A high calcium/magnesium ratio remains about the same on a retest. This usually indicates that the attitude or lifestyle factor has not been addressed, as yet.

4. A low calcium/magnesium ratio can also worsen, stay the same or improve on a retest. The meaning is similar to that of an elevated calcium/magnesium on a retest, indicating a person’s progress in correcting a lifestyle imbalance.

Progressions on several retests. One can also track the calcium/magnesium ratio over several tests. This can yield valuable information about the appropriateness of a person’s diet and lifestyle.

For example, if a calcium/magnesium ratio of 20 or 30 persists for several tests, it indicates an ongoing stubbornness or unwillingness to address a lifestyle imbalance. If the ratio slowly declines, it indicates slow progress in changing a harmful lifestyle, habit or attitude.

Progressions of combination patterns on several retests. For example, one of our nutritional balancing consultants has a progression or series of hair tests with a hill pattern. This is quite unusual. It probably indicates an extreme joy that simply won’t quit.


When the calcium/magnesium ratio is above about 35 to 40, or below about 1.5 to 2, it seems to indicate more severe but the same patterns.


The defensiveness concept is seen clearly in the bowl and the hill patterns, which involve the calcium/magnesium ratio.

Bowl pattern. The bowl pattern is a high calcium/magnesium ratio combined with a low sodium/potassium ratio. It looks like a bowl on a calibrated hair chart from ARL. Its meaning is that a person feels stuck or immobile, like being caught in a sink or bowl without a way out. The person may be defending a bad situation. In acupuncture, it is a deficiency of blood or yin.

Hill pattern. The hill pattern is the opposite or the bowl. It is a low calcium/magnesium ratio combined with an elevated sodium/potassium ratio. It looks like a hill on a calibrated hair chart from ARL. It is a celebration, excitement and “moving on” pattern. In Tibetan, it is called a joy pattern. It indicates a certain openness and willingness to move on in life. It may indicate a celebration due to having “turned a corner”, or having “moved on”, or climbing to the top of a hill so that the way ahead is smoother sailing.

A bowl with a hill (superimposed on top). Just to confuse things, it is definitely possible to have a hair analysis with both a bowl and a hill pattern at the same time. Usually, I believe the bowl is the underlying pattern. This indicates feeling stuck and yin or blood deficiency, which is a nutritional problem for the most part. However, if the person is excited to be starting a nutritional balancing program or for some other reason, then there can be a hill pattern superimposed on the bowl. It might mean that the person believes or even “knows” that his or her suffering is over because he has found truth, or found a good friend, or something else joyful has occurred.

The effect of this combination is that the bowl and the hill cancel one another out, at least to some extent. This is hard to evaluate, and one must often use telltale signs to figure it out. For example, if you know the person is not eating correctly, and is eating too many carbohydrates, yet the calcium/magnesium ratio is normal, it could indicate a bowl with a hill pattern.

Double low ratio pattern. Another less defensive pattern is called double low ratio. It consists of a low sodium/potassium ratio and a low calcium/magnesium ratio at the same time. It is also called double give up pattern, as it is associated with extreme chronic stress, giving up and death if it not changed soon.

This is a more catabolic pattern associated with serious diseases.

Step up pattern. This is a variant on the double low ratio pattern. It consists of the latter, along with a fast oxidation rate and a visual pattern that looks like steps going upward from the left to the right.

It is also a death pattern, but a quick death pattern. It is a kind of recklessness, stubbornness and belligerent quality that is going in the wrong direction and leads to heart attacks and strokes quickly, unless it is reversed.

Double high ratio pattern. This is a more defensive and aggressive posturing. It consists of a high sodium/potassium ratio and a high calcium/magnesium ratio at the same time. It is associated with double anger, double acute stress and double inflammation in the body and mind.

It is a more anabolic or fight-or-flight pattern.

Step down pattern. This interesting hair analysis pattern is a variant of the double high ratio pattern. The latter is coupled with a slow oxidation rate and a visual pattern that looks like steps moving downward from the left to the right on a properly calibrated hair mineral graph such as that used by Analytical Research Laboratories only, at the time.

With its high Ca/Mg ratio, it is also a defensive, stubborn, determined, focused, measured, digging-in-of-the-heels pattern that is considered very positive, even though the person’s energy level may be quite low. It also generally indicates a movement of a new beginning that in Tibetan is called “stepping into life”.


This is a more advanced, but very interesting topic. I will just introduce it. It is the interpretation of not only the calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium levels, ratios and patterns.

However, one can also interpret the levels, ratios and patterns of the second four minerals – iron, copper, manganese and zinc. Then one can combine the interpretation of the first four minerals, with the interpretation of the second four minerals.

For example, let us say that the first four minerals indicate a pattern of a double low ratio or give up or slow death pattern. This is not that uncommon. Now let us imagine that on the same hair test, the second four minerals also indicate a double low ratio or slow death pattern. This does occur.

In this case, the two combined indicate an even stronger double low ratio or slow death pattern. This is an example of how to combine the interpretation of the first four minerals and the second four minerals ONLY on a properly calibrated ARL hair chart.

Many combinations are possible, and on a retest there are even more possibilities. Even more possibilities exist if one looks at progressions of first four-second four combinations. A progression means three or more successive hair tests.

It may sound farfetched, but our research indicates that the interpretation of first four-second four combinations are totally valid. The reason they work is due to the fractal and holographic qualities of the design of a human being.


An advanced nutritional balancing concept is that all of the levels and ratios on a hair mineral chart can be quantified for more exact interpretation. I do this less with the calcium/magnesium ratio than with some of the other ratios. However, this is a very interesting topic.