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Magnesium Intake Increases Bone Mineral Density in the
Osteoporotic fractures represent a significant health risk in
the elderly population; in some age groups, the risk of
clinical fracture may be as high as 75 percent. The lower a
person's bone mineral density (BMD), the higher the risk of
developing osteoporotic fractures. While calcium is
considered one of the most important minerals in the
treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, little research
exists on the role intake of another mineral, magnesium,
plays on BMD in the elderly.
In this cross-sectional cohort study, researchers compared
magnesium intake from supplemental and dietary sources in
relation to BMD in 2,038 men and women ages 70 to 79.
Dietary intake of magnesium was assessed using a food
frequency questionnaire, while supplemental magnesium
intake was collected based on a medication inventory. BMD
was obtained using a densitometer, with additional data
collected on body mass index, alcohol use, physical activity,
and supplemental intake of calcium and vitamin D.
Results: Less than 26 percent of the study population met
the recommended daily allowance for magnesium intake
(320 milligrams per day for women aged 70 and older; 420
milligrams per day for men). After adjusting for energy
intake, total magnesium intake through food and
supplements was positively associated with increased bone
mineral density in white, but not black, men and women. For
every 100 milligrams per day increase in magnesium, the
researchers noted an approximate 2 percent increase in
whole-body BMD. The researchers were unable to explain
the lack of such an association in black men and women,
but postulated that differences in calciotropic hormones or
responses to nutrients in milk could play a role.
Conclusion: "This investigation shows that magnesium
intake is associated with total-body BMD in older white
women and men ... Dietary surveys show that a large
percentage of older adults do not meet the RDA or even the
EAR [estimated average requirement] for magnesium,
resulting in a population at risk for magnesium deficiency.
Higher magnesium intake through dietary change or
supplementation may provide an additional strategy for the
prevention of osteoporosis."
Ryder KM, Shorr RI, Bush AJ, et al. Magnesium intake from
food and supplements is associated with bone mineral
density in healthy older white subjects. Journal of the
American Geriatrics Society November
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