Nutrition Education and Racial Disparities in Health


Magnesium Blog Series: The Forgotten Nutrient | Part 3 – Health Consequences and Benefits

August 6, 2018 • 2 min read

Magnesium deficiency is linked to many chronic conditions, from cardiovascular disease to depression. Whereas high magnesium intake has many benefits including reduced risk for major diseases.

Potential Health Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency

Lower magnesium levels have been linked to a broad array of chronic health conditions, ranging from cardiovascular disease to depression (Table 1). Proposed mechanisms through which magnesium may affect risk for chronic diseases include modulation of cellular metabolism and reproduction, systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, thrombosis, and endothelial function, among others.3

Table 1. Studies demonstrating an association between magnesium intake and common diseases.

Condition Relation to Magnesium Intake
Bone disease
  • low serum Mg levels independently associated with increased risk for fracture in men19
  • lower Mg intake associated with reduced bone mineral density in women20
  • reduced dietary Mg intake led to bone loss in animal studies21
  • reduced Mg intake documented in postmenopausal women with low bone density22
  • lower serum Mg levels linked to higher risk for depressive symptoms23
  • Mg supplementation led to greater reductions in depressive symptoms compared to placebo24
Heart failure
  • higher Mg intake associated with decreased risk of heart failure admission compared to lower intake in the Jackson Heart Study25
  • risk for heart failure reduced by 22 percent for each 100 mg/d increase in Mg intake in a meta-analysis of prospective studies26
  • lower dietary Mg intake linked to increased risk for hypertension in a meta-analysis; hypertension risk decreases five percent for each 100 mg/day increase in Mg uptake27
  • Mg supplementation significantly reduced systolic (-4.18 mmHg) and diastolic (-2.27 mmHg) blood pressure in a meta-analysis of randomized trials28
  • Mg supplementation (median dose 368 mg/d for median of three months) significantly reduced systolic (-2.0 mmHg) and diastolic (-1.78 mmHg) blood pressure in a meta-analysis of randomized trials29
Kidney disease
  • significant association between lower dietary Mg intake and greater risk for rapid declines in kidney function30
Metabolic syndrome
  • higher Mg intake associated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome in meta-analyses31
  • over 15-year follow-up, highest Mg intake reduced risk for metabolic syndrome by 31 percent (P<0.01) compared to lowest Mg intake in 4637 adult Americans32
  • Reduced risk for impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance with higher Mg intake33
  • Long-term Mg supplementation significantly improved insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose in meta-analysis34
  • magnesium supplementation significantly improved all migraine indicators in randomized study of 133 people with migraines35
  • relative risk for stroke decreased by 7 percent to 13 percent for each 100 mg/d increase in Mg intake in meta-analyses of prospective studies26,36
  • risk for stroke reduce 13 percent with highest vs. lowest Mg intake in a prospective study of 180,864 women36
Type diabetes (T2D)
  • significant, linear dose-response relationship; highest Mg intake associated with 15 percent to 17 percent reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared to lowest intake in cohort studies and a meta-analysis37,38
  • risk of T2D 8 percent to 13 percent lower per 100 mg/day increase in Mg intake in ameta-analysis37
  • Mg supplementation reduced plasma glucose levels in pre-diabetic adults in a randomized trial39

Health Benefits of Higher Magnesium Intake

In contrast to magnesium deficits, higher dietary magnesium intake has been linked to reduced risk for major diseases, reduced stress and depression, and improved migraine symptoms (see Table 1). Higher dietary intake has also been associated with increased fat-free mass (i.e., skeletal muscle), reduced risk for frailty, improved grip strength and bone density, and reduced risk of mortality due to liver disease.40-43 For example, an analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cohort found a 49 percent reduction in risk for mortality due to liver disease for every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake.43

Aging is associated with higher risk for magnesium deficiency due to age-related changes in diet, intestinal absorption, and renal function.44,45 However, adequate magnesium status may support healthy aging not only by reducing risk for the multiple diseases described above, but by preserving chromosomal function. Telomeres are chromosomal structures that contribute to chromosomal integrity and cell health and longevity; reduced telomere length has been linked to age-associated diseases (such as cancer) and mortality.46-47 One study of 10,568 adults from NHANES found that high mineral and vitamin consumption, including magnesium, was associated with increased telomere length, suggesting better cellular integrity.47 Other studies have also identified a link between magnesium status, telomeres, and healthy aging.48

Substantial and mounting evidence, therefore, implicates magnesium deficits in higher risk for multiple serious chronic health conditions, whereas higher magnesium intake reduces health risks and supports normal physiologic function.

Read Part 4 of the Magnesium Blog Series: The Forgotten Nutrient. 

Did you like this article?

  1. Grober, U., Schmidt, J., Kisters, K. (2015) Magnesium in prevention and therapy. Nutrients; 7(9):8199-8226.
  2. Volpe, SL. (2013). Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr; 4(3):378S-383S.
  3. Rosique-Esteban, N., Guasch-Ferre, M., Hernandez-Alonso, P., Salas-Salvado, J. (2018). Dietary magnesium and cardiovascular disease: a review with emphasis in epidemiological studies. Nutrients; 10(2).
  4. Elin, RJ. (2010). Assessment of magnesium status for diagnosis and therapy. Magnes Res; 23(4):S194-198.
  5. Quann, EE., Fulgoni, VL., Auestad, N. (2015). Consuming the daily recommended amounts of dairy products would reduce the prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes in the United States: diet modeling study based on NHANES 2007-2010. Nutr J. 14:90.
  6. Moshfegh, AG., Goldman, J., Ahuja, J., Rhodes, D., LaComb, R. (2009). What we eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006: usual nutrient intakes from food and water compared to 1997 dietary reference intakes for citamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and magneisum. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.
  7. Wang, JL., Shaw, NS., Yeh, HY., Kao, MD. (2005). Magnesium status and association with diabetes in the Taiwanese elderly. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr;14(3):263-269.
  8. Olza, J., Aranceta-Bartrina, J., Gonzalez-Gross, M., et al. (2017). Reported dietary intake, disparity between the reported consumption and the level needed for adequacy and food sources of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D in the Spanish population: findings from the ANIBES study. Nutrients; 9(2).
  9. Costello, RB., Elin, RJ., Rosanoff, A., et al.(2016). Perspective: The case for an evidence-based reference interval for serum magnesium: the time has come. Adv Nutr.; 7(6):977-993.
  10. Vormann, J. (2003). Magnesium: nutrition and metabolism. Mol Aspects Med; 24(1-3):27-37.
  11. Jahnen-Dechent, W., Ketteler, M. (2012). Magnesium basics. Clin Kidney J;5 (Suppl 1):i3-i14.
  12. Rude, RK., Gruber, HE. (2004). Magnesium deficiency and osteoporosis: animal and human observations. J Nutr Biochem; 15(12):710-716.
  13. Nielsen, FH., Milne, DB., Gallagher, S., Johnson, L., Hoverson, B. (2007). Moderate magnesium deprivation results in calcium retention and altered potassium and phosphorus excretion by postmenopausal women. Magnes Res; 20(1):19-31.
  14. Schwalfenberg GK., Genuis, SJ. (2017). The Importance of magnesium in clinical healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo):4179326.
  15. Hermes Sales, C., Azevedo Nascimento, D., Queiroz Medeiros, AC., Costa Lima, K., Campos Pedrosa, LF., Colli, C. (2014). There is chronic latent magnesium deficiency in apparently healthy university students. Nutr Hosp; 30(1):200-204.
  16. Elin, RJ. (2011). Re-evaluation of the concept of chronic, latent, magnesium deficiency. Magnes Res; 24(4):225-227.
  17. Mejia-Rodriguez, F., Shamah-Levy, T., Villalpando, S., Garcia-Guerra, A., Mendez-Gomez Humaran, I. (2013). Iron, zinc, copper and magnesium deficiencies in Mexican adults from the National Health and Nutrition Survey 2006. Salud Publica Mex.; 55(3):275-284.
  18. DiNicolantonio, JJ., O'Keefe, JH., Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart; 5(1):e000668.
  19. Kunutsor, SK., Whitehouse, MR., Blom, AW., Laukkanen, JA. (2017). Low serum magnesium levels are associated with increased risk of fractures: a long-term prospective cohort study. Eur J Epidemiol; 32(7):593-603.
  20. Orchard, TS., Larson, JC., Alghothani, N., et al. (2014). Magnesium intake, bone mineral density, and fractures: results from the women's health initiative observational study. Am J Clin Nutr; 99(4):926-933.
  21. Rude, RK., Singer, FR., Gruber, HE. (2009). Skeletal and hormonal effects of magnesium deficiency. J Am Coll Nutr.;28(2):131-141.
  22. Mahdavi-Roshan, M., Ebrahimi, M., Ebrahimi, A. (2015). Copper, magnesium, zinc and calcium status in osteopenic and osteoporotic post-menopausal women. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab.12(1):18-21.
  23. Szkup, M., Jurczak, A., Brodowska, A., et al. (2017). Analysis of relations between the level of Mg, Zn, Ca, Cu, and Fe and depressiveness in postmenopausal women. Biol Trace Elem Res;176(1):56-63.
  24. Rajizadeh, A., Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Yassini-Ardakani, M., Dehghani, A. (2017). Effect of magnesium supplementation on depression status in depressed patients with magnesium deficiency: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition; 35:56-60.
  25. Taveira, TH., Ouellette, D., Gulum, A., et al. (2016). Relation of Magnesium intake with cardiac function and heart failure hospitalizations in black adults: the jackson heart study. Circ Heart Fail;9(4):e002698.
  26. Fang, X., Wang, K., Han, D., et al. (2018).Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Med; 14(1):210.
  27. Han, H., Fang, X., Wei, X., et al. (2017). Dose-response relationship between dietary magnesium intake, serum magnesium concentration and risk of hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutr J; 16(1):26.
  28. Dibaba, DT., Xun, P., Song, Y., Rosanoff, A., Shechter, M., He, K. (2017). The effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure in individuals with insulin resistance, prediabetes, or noncommunicable chronic diseases: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr; 106(3):921-929.
  29. Zhang, X., Li, Y., Del Gobbo, LC., et al. (2016). Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials. Hypertension; 68(2):324-333.
  30. Rebholz, CM. Tin, A., Liu, Y., et al.(2016). Dietary magnesium and kidney function decline: the healthy aging in neighborhoods of diversity across the life span study. Am J Nephrol;44(5):381-387.
  31. Sarrafzadegan, N., Khosravi-Boroujeni, H., Lotfizadeh, M., Pourmogaddas, A., Salehi-Abargouei, A. (2016). Magnesium status and the metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition; 32(4):409-417.
  32. He, K., Liu, K., Daviglus, ML., et al. (2006). Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults. Circulation; 113(13):1675-1682.
  33. Hruby, A., Meigs, JB., O'Donnell, CJ., Jacques, PF., McKeown, NM. (2014). Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and progression from prediabetes to diabetes in middle-aged americans. Diabetes Care; 37(2):419-427.
  34. Simental-Mendia, LE., Sahebkar, A., Rodriguez-Moran, M., Guerrero-Romero, F. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Pharmacol Res; 111:272-282.
  35. Tarighat Esfanjani, A., Mahdavi, R., Ebrahimi Mameghani, M., Talebi, M., Nikniaz, Z., Safaiyan, A. (2012). The effects of magnesium, L-carnitine, and concurrent magnesium-L-carnitine supplementation in migraine prophylaxis. Biol Trace Elem Res; 150(1-3):42-48.
  36. Adebamowo, SN., Spiegelman, D., Willett, WC., Rexrode, KM. (2015). Association between intakes of magnesium, potassium, and calcium and risk of stroke: 2 cohorts of US women and updated meta-analyses. Am J Clin Nutr.; 101(6):1269-1277.
  37. Fang, X., Han, H., Li, M., et al. (2016). Dose-response relationship between dietary Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and meta-regression analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrients; 8(11).
  38. Hruby, A., Guasch-Ferre, M., Bhupathiraju, SN., et al. (2017). Magnesium intake, quality of carbohydrates, and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three U.S. cohorts. Diabetes Care; 40(12):1695-1702.
  39. Guerrero-Romero, F., Simental-Mendia, LE., Hernandez-Ronquillo, G., Rodriguez-Moran, M. (2015). Oral magnesium supplementation improves glycaemic status in subjects with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia: A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Diabetes Metab; 41(3):202-207.
  40. Hayhoe, RPG., Lentjes, MAH., Mulligan, AA., Luben, RN., Khaw, KT., Welch, AA. (2018). Cross-sectional associations of dietary and circulating magnesium with skeletal muscle mass in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. Clin Nutr.
  41. Veronese, N., Stubbs, B., Maggi, S., et al. (2017). Dietary magnesium and incident frailty in older people at risk for knee osteoarthritis: an eight-year longitudinal study. Nutrients; 9(11).
  42. Welch, AA., Skinner, J., Hickson, M. (2017). Dietary magnesium may be protective for aging of bone and skeletal muscle in middle and younger older age men and women: cross-sectional findings from the UK biobank cohort. Nutrients; 9(11).
  43. Wu, L., Zhu, X., Fan, L., et al. (2017). Magnesium intake and mortality due to liver diseases: Results from the third national health and nutrition examination survey cohort. Sci Rep; 7(1):17913.
  44. Wakimoto, P., Block, G.(2001). Dietary intake, dietary patterns, and changes with age: an epidemiological perspective. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci; 56 Spec No 2:65-80.
  45. Killilea, DW., Maier, JA. (2008). A connection between magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies. Magnes Res; 21(2):77-82.
  46. Lin, J., Epel, E., Blackburn, E. (2012). Telomeres and lifestyle factors: roles in cellular aging. Mutat Res; 730(1-2):85-89.
  47. Mazidi, M., Kengne, AP., Banach, M. (2017). Mineral and vitamin consumption and telomere length among adults in the United States. Pol Arch Intern Med.; 127(2):87-90.
  48. Shah, NC., Shah, GJ., Li, Z., Jiang, XC., Altura, BT., Altura, BM. (2014). Short-term magnesium deficiency downregulates telomerase, upregulates neutral sphingomyelinase and induces oxidative DNA damage in cardiovascular tissues: relevance to atherogenesis, cardiovascular diseases and aging. Int J Clin Exp Med; 7(3):497-514.

Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.