Magnesium Research

December 2, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The premier naturopathic institute of learning in the United States is Bastyr University. The president of Bastyr U is Joseph Pizzorno, ND. Recently, Dr. Pizzorno posted a tweet informing his “followers” that he’s just completed writing a monograph on magnesium. In his brief communication, he goes on to emphasize the importance of this essential mineral by revealing that is “necessary for over 300 enzyme systems” in the human body and that over 60% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. There’s very good reason not to be part of this silent majority.

A primary function of magnesium is to support a healthy cardiovascular system. Two recent studies document the dangers of neglecting this macro mineral in diet or via supplementation. The first is published in the current edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The report out of Harvard Medical School looked for an association between magnesium intake and sudden cardiac death in a group of 88,375 women. Over the course of a 26 year follow up examination, 505 cases of arrhythmic or sudden death were found. The women in the highest quartile of magnesium intake were 37% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death. Those with the highest plasma concentrations of magnesium were protected even further – by 77%. (1,2)

Higher Plasma Magnesium May Reduce All-Cause & Cardiovascular Mortality
Source: Int J Cardiol. 2009 August 21; 136(3): 270–277. (link)

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is characterized by an enlargement of muscle in the wall of the heart’s primary chamber. As the condition progresses, the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The September 2010 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis provides evidence that insufficient levels of magnesium may be partially responsible for the development of LVH. German researchers enrolled 1,348 patients with “complete echocardiographic data” in the trial. Baseline magnesium levels were assessed then compared to the 5 year risk of gaining left ventricular mass – an indicator of LVH. The findings of the German cardiologists lead them to following conclusion: “Hypomagnesemia is one of the strongest predictors of gain in LVM (left ventricular mass) over the following 5 years”. All of this is to say that if you value your heart, make sure to be mindful of magnesium. (3)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements

10 Comments & Updates to “Magnesium Research”

  1. oct Says:

    another great reason to keep up on that topical magnesium. 🙂 Thanks JP

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Oct! 🙂

    Be well!


  3. Mark Says:


    What is the most efficient form of magnesium, Topical or oral?

  4. JP Says:


    I haven’t seen any head-to-head comparisons in the medical literature. The vast majority of the research on supplemental magnesium has dealt with intravenous or oral forms of the mineral. Anecdotally speaking, I’ve received some positive feedback from users of topical magnesium products:

    At the moment, I’m using a magnesium citrate supplement that provides 500 mg of elemental magnesium per three capsules.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update: Shelled hemp seeds are an excellent source of magnesium – about 45% of the RDA per ounce.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update 05/06/15:

    Diabetes Metab. 2015 Apr 27. pii: S1262-3636(15)00058-0.

    Oral magnesium supplementation improves glycaemic status in subjects with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia: A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.


    This study evaluated the efficacy of oral magnesium supplementation in the reduction of plasma glucose levels in adults with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia.


    A total of 116 men and non-pregnant women, aged 30 to 65years with hypomagnesaemia and newly diagnosed with prediabetes, were enrolled into a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to receive either 30mL of MgCl2 5% solution (equivalent to 382mg of magnesium) or an inert placebo solution once daily for four months. The primary trial endpoint was the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in reducing plasma glucose levels.


    At baseline, there were no significant statistical differences in terms of anthropometric and biochemical variables between individuals in the supplement and placebo groups. At the end of follow-up, fasting (86.9±7.9 and 98.3±4.6mg/dL, respectively; P=0.004) and post-load glucose (124.7±33.4 and 136.7±23.9mg/dL, respectively; P=0.03) levels, HOMA-IR indices (2.85±1.0 and 4.1±2.7, respectively; P=0.04) and triglycerides (166.4±90.6 and 227.0±89.7, respectively; P=0.009) were significantly decreased, whereas HDL cholesterol (45.6±10.9 and 46.8±9.2mg/dL, respectively; P=0.04) and serum magnesium (1.96±0.27 and 1.60±0.26mg/dL, respectively; P=0.005) levels were significantly increased in those taking MgCl2 compared with the controls. A total of 34 (29.4%) people improved their glucose status (50.8% and 7.0% in the magnesium and placebo groups, respectively; P<0.0005).


    Our results show that magnesium supplementation reduces plasma glucose levels, and improves the glycaemic status of adults with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Update 06/12/15:

    PLoS ONE 10(5): e0127666.

    Association between Dietary Magnesium Intake and Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis.

    Objective: To examine the cross-sectional associations between dietary magnesium (Mg) intake and radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA), joint space narrowing (JSN), and osteophytes (OST) respectively.

    Methods: A total of 1626 subjects were included in the study. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Radiographic knee OA was defined as Kellgren-Lawrence (K-L) Grade 2 in at least one leg. JSN and OST were assessed individually according to the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) atlas. A multivariable logistic analysis model was applied to test the various associations after adjusting for potentially confounding factors.

    Results: The relative odds of radiographic knee OA were decreased by 0.53 times in the third quintile of Mg intake [odds ratio (OR) 0.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28–1.01], 0.40 times in the fourth quintile (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.17–0.94) and 0.34 times in the fifth quintile (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.11–1.00) compared with those in the lowest quintile, while P for trend was 0.111. The relative odds of JSN were decreased by 0.49 times in the third quintile of Mg intake (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.88) and 0.37 times in the fifth quintile (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.98) compared with those in the lowest quintile, while P for trend was 0.088. There was no significant relationship between dietary Mg intake and the presence of OST.

    Conclusions: The findings of this cross-sectional study indicate that Mg intake is inversely associated with radiographic knee OA and JSN. It supports potential role of Mg in the prevention of knee OA.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 08/21/15:

    J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Aug 19.

    Dietary Magnesium Is Positively Associated with Skeletal Muscle Power and Indices of Muscle Mass and May Attenuate the Association Between Circulating C-Reactive Protein and Muscle Mass in Women.

    Age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength are risk factors for sarcopenia, osteoporosis, falls, fractures, frailty and mortality. Dietary magnesium (Mg) could play a role in prevention of age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass, power and strength directly through physiological mechanisms or indirectly through an impact on chronic low-grade inflammation, itself a risk factor for loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. In a cross-sectional study of 2570 women aged 18-79 years we examined associations between intakes of Mg, estimated using an FFQ, DXA-derived measures of muscle mass (fat free mass as a percentage of body weight (FFM%), fat free mass index (FFMI, kg/m2 )), leg explosive power (LEP) and grip-strength (n = 949 only). We also examined associations between circulating hs-CRP (C-reactive protein) and muscle mass and LEP, and explored the potential attenuation of these relationships by Mg. We compared our findings with those of age and protein intake. Endpoints were calculated by quintile of Mg and adjusted for relevant confounders. Significant positive associations were found between a higher Mg and indices of skeletal muscle mass and LEP, and also with hs-CRP, after adjustment for covariates. Contrasting extreme quintiles of Mg intake showed differences of 2.6% for FFM% (P trend <0.001), 0.4 kg/m2 for FFMI (P trend = 0.005), and 19.6 watts/kg for LEP (P trend < 0.001). Compared to protein these positive associations were 7 times greater for FFM% and 2.5 times greater for LEP. We also found that higher hs-CRP was negatively associated with skeletal muscle mass and, in statistical modelling, that a higher dietary Mg attenuated this negative relationship by 6.5%, with greater attenuation in women aged over 50 years. No association was found between Mg and grip strength. Our results suggest that dietary magnesium may aid conservation of age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and power in women of all ages. Be well! JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 03/17/16:

    Note: MMFS-01 is magnesium threonate.

    J Alzheimers Dis. 2015 Oct 27;49(4):971-90.

    Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairment is a major problem in elderly, affecting quality of life. Pre-clinical studies show that MMFS-01, a synapse density enhancer, is effective at reversing cognitive decline in aging rodents.

    OBJECTIVE: Since brain atrophy during aging is strongly associated with both cognitive decline and sleep disorder, we evaluated the efficacy of MMFS-01 in its ability to reverse cognitive impairment and improve sleep.

    METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-designed trial in older adult subjects (age 50-70) with cognitive impairment. Subjects were treated with MMFS-01 (n = 23) or placebo (n = 21) for 12 weeks and cognitive ability, sleep quality, and emotion were evaluated. Overall cognitive ability was determined by a composite score of tests in four major cognitive domains.

    RESULTS: With MMFS-01 treatment, overall cognitive ability improved significantly relative to placebo (p = 0.003; Cohen’s d = 0.91). Cognitive fluctuation was also reduced. The study population had more severe executive function deficits than age-matched controls from normative data and MMFS-01 treatment nearly restored their impaired executive function, demonstrating that MMFS-01 may be clinically significant. Due to the strong placebo effects on sleep and anxiety, the effects of MMFS-01 on sleep and anxiety could not be determined.

    CONCLUSIONS: The current study demonstrates the potential of MMFS-01 for treating cognitive impairment in older adults.

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Updated 11/11/16:

    Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Oct 24.

    Data from Controlled Metabolic Ward Studies Provide Guidance for the Determination of Status Indicators and Dietary Requirements for Magnesium.

    Determination of whether magnesium (Mg) is a nutrient of public health concern has been hindered by questionable Dietary Recommended Intakes (DRIs) and problematic status indicators that make Mg deficiency assessment formidable. Balance data obtained since 1997 indicate that the EAR and RDA for 70-kg healthy individuals are about 175 and 250 mg/day, respectively, and these DRIs decrease or increase based on body weight. These DRIs are less than those established for the USA and Canada. Urinary excretion data from tightly controlled metabolic unit balance studies indicate that urinary Mg excretion is 40 to 80 mg (1.65 to 3.29 mmol)/day when Mg intakes are <250 mg (10.28 mmol)/day, and 80 to 160 mg (3.29 to 6.58 mmol)/day when intakes are >250 mg (10.28 mmol)/day. However, changing from low to high urinary excretion with an increase in dietary intake occurs within a few days and vice versa. Thus, urinary Mg as a stand-alone status indicator would be most useful for population studies and not useful for individual status assessment. Tightly controlled metabolic unit depletion/repletion experiments indicate that serum Mg concentrations decrease only after a prolonged depletion if an individual has good Mg reserves. These experiments also found that, although individuals had serum Mg concentrations approaching 0.85 mmol/L (2.06 mg/dL), they had physiological changes that respond to Mg supplementation. Thus, metabolic unit findings suggest that individuals with serum Mg concentrations >0.75 mmol/L (1.82 mg/L), or as high as 0.85 mmol/L (2.06 mg/dL), could have a deficit in Mg such that they respond to Mg supplementation, especially if they have a dietary intake history showing <250 mg (10.28 mmol)/day and a urinary excretion of <80 mg (3.29 mmol)/day.

    Be well!


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