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February 18, 1950


JAMA. 1950;142(7):478-485. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.72910250002009

Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium are usually considered together, from a nutritional point of view, because all three occur in bone, and, with carbonate, make up the major part of the bone mineral. The metabolic paths of the three elements are by no means wholly parallel, even though the major part of the body content of each is found in the same tissue. Whereas 99 per cent of body calcium is found in the skeletal structures, bones and teeth, both phosphorus and magnesium are important constituents of soft tissue also. The small amount of calcium not in bone is a component of extracellular fluid; magnesium and phosphate, on the other hand, are components of intracellular fluids, and the phosphate radical appears to be essential in an ever increasing number of metabolic reactions.

Milk and its derivatives, such as cheese and ice cream, are the chief sources of calcium in the diet