Dietary Magnesium Is Important for Helping to Prevent Disease

According to a meta-analysis of existing studies, a magnesium rich diet could lower risk of diseases such as type-2 diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease. This is the largest analysis so far of the existing evidence on the relation between dietary magnesium and health outcomes, which includes data from over 1 million individuals across 9 countries.[1]

It was found that individuals with a higher consumption of dietary magnesium had a 12% reduced risk of stroke, a 10% reduced risk of coronary heart disease, and a 26% reduced risk of type-2 diabetes when compared with individuals that had the lowest consumption of dietary magnesium. The results also show that the risk of type-2 diabetes could be lowered by 19% and stroke by 7% with an additional 100mg of daily dietary magnesium.

Low magnesium levels have been linked to a variety of conditions but no conclusive evidence has ever been presented between dietary magnesium and health risks associations. This meta-analysis gives the most current evidence that supports a connection between the role of dietary magnesium and reducing risk of disease.

A daily magnesium intake of about 300mg for men and 270mg for women is recommended according to the current health guidelines. In spite of this, a deficiency of magnesium is fairly common, impacting 2.5% to 15% of the overall population.

Magnesium is an essential element for general health and biological functions such as protein production, glucose metabolism and the synthesis of nucleic acids like DNA. The primary source of magnesium is from our diet as it can be obtained from foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, spices, beans, whole grains, and cocoa.

For the analysis, data were made use of to examine associations between dietary magnesium and various conditions from 40 epidemiological studies over a time period from 1999 to 2016. In all the studies, dietary magnesium levels were established making use of a 24-hour dietary recall or a food frequency questionnaire. Since the magnesium levels made use of to define consumption categories varied between the studies, a dose-response analysis was performed for how each 100mg daily increase of dietary magnesium affected the results.

The meta-analysis included observational studies which means that it’s impossible to rule out the effect of other lifestyle or biological factors having an influence on the results. It’s also impossible to establish if magnesium is directly responsible for reducing risk of disease. Nevertheless, the large size of the analysis provides reliable data that were stable when adjusting for study location and gender. The researchers are convinced that their conclusions support the notion that higher consumption of magnesium rich foods can be of benefit to overall health.

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