Study: Magnesium Optimizes Vitamin D Status

Tom Wilemon wrote . . . . . . . . .

A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

The study reported in the December issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is important because of controversial findings from ongoing research into the association of vitamin D levels with colorectal cancer and other diseases, including a recent report from the VITAL trial. It gave confirmation to a prior observational study in 2013 by the researchers that linked low magnesium levels with low vitamin D levels.

The trial also revealed something new — that magnesium had a regulating effect in people with high vitamin D levels. The research provides the first evidence that magnesium may play an important role in optimizing vitamin D levels and preventing conditions related to vitamin D levels.

Qi Dai, MD, PhD, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, the study’s lead author, described the ideal level as being in the middle range of a U-shape because vitamin D at this level has been linked to the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease in previous observational studies.

However, vitamin D was not related to cardiovascular disease in the recent VITAL trial. He and Martha Shrubsole, PhD, research professor of Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, are investigating the role that magnesium may play with cancer as part of the Personalized Prevention of Colorectal Cancer Trial.

“There’s a lot of information being debated about the relationship between vitamin D and colorectal cancer risk that is based upon observational studies versus clinical trials,” Shrubsole said. “The information is mixed thus far.”

They became interested in a role for magnesium because people synthesize vitamin D differently with levels of the vitamin in some individuals not rising even after being given high dosage supplements.

“Magnesium deficiency shuts down the vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway,” Dai said.

The randomized study involved 250 people considered at risk for developing colorectal cancer because of either risk factors or having a precancerous polyp removed. Doses of magnesium and placebo were customized based on baseline dietary intake.

“Vitamin D insufficiency is something that has been recognized as a potential health problem on a fairly large scale in the U.S.,” Shrubsole said. “A lot of people have received recommendations from their health care providers to take vitamin D supplements to increase their levels based upon their blood tests. In addition to vitamin D, however, magnesium deficiency is an under-recognized issue. Up to 80 percent of people do not consume enough magnesium in a day to meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) based on those national estimates.”

Shrubsole stressed that the magnesium levels in the trial were in line with RDA guidelines, and she recommended dietary changes as the best method for increasing intake. Foods with high levels of magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans, whole grains, dark chocolate, fatty fish such as salmon, nuts and avocados.

Source: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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Researchers Find Low Magnesium Level Makes Vitamin D Ineffective

There is a caveat to the push for increased Vitamin D: Don’t forget magnesium.

A review published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found Vitamin D can’t be metabolized without sufficient magnesium levels, meaning Vitamin D remains stored and inactive for as many as 50 percent of Americans.

“People are taking Vitamin D supplements but don’t realize how it gets metabolized. Without magnesium, Vitamin D is not really useful or safe,” says study co-author Mohammed S. Razzaque, MBBS, PhD, a professor of pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Razzaque explains that consumption of Vitamin D supplements can increase a person’s calcium and phosphate levels even if they remain Vitamin D deficient. The problem is people may suffer from vascular calcification if their magnesium levels aren’t high enough to prevent the complication.

Patients with optimum magnesium levels require less Vitamin D supplementation to achieve sufficient Vitamin D levels. Magnesium also reduces osteoporosis, helping to mitigate the risk of bone fracture that can be attributed to low levels of Vitamin D, Razzaque noted.

Deficiency in either of these nutrients is reported to be associated with various disorders, including skeletal deformities, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic syndrome.

While the recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 420 mg for males and 320 mg for females, the standard diet in the United States contains only about 50 percent of that amount. As much as half of the total population is estimated to be consuming a magnesium-deficient diet.

Researchers say the magnesium consumption from natural foods has decreased in the past few decades, owing to industrialized agriculture and changes in dietary habits. Magnesium status is low in populations who consume processed foods that are high in refined grains, fat, phosphate, and sugar.

“By consuming an optimal amount of magnesium, one may be able to lower the risks of Vitamin D deficiency, and reduce the dependency on Vitamin D supplements,” says Razzaque.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body after calcium, potassium, and sodium. Foods high in magnesium include almonds, bananas, beans, broccoli, brown rice, cashews, egg yolk, fish oil, flaxseed, green vegetables, milk, mushrooms, other nuts, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, sunflower seeds, sweet corn, tofu, and whole grains.

Source: American Osteopathic Association

High, Low Levels of Magnesium Linked to Dementia Risk

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . .

Having magnesium levels that are too high or too low may put you at risk for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Dutch researchers report.

In a study of more than 9,500 men and women, the highest or lowest levels of magnesium appeared to increase the chances for dementia by as much as 30 percent.

“At this moment, magnesium levels are not routinely measured in daily clinical practice,” said lead researcher Dr. Brenda Kieboom, of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. “If our study results are replicated, magnesium levels could be used to screen for dementia, especially in people at risk for low magnesium levels.”

But she cautioned that “we cannot prove that low or high magnesium causes dementia on the basis of our data. For that, we need studies to see if supplements will reduce the risk.”

Kieboom said she also wants to study whether low magnesium levels also associate with a decline in mental function over time.

“Mental function can be seen as a precursor stage of dementia, and if we find similar associations with dementia this will support our theory for a causal association,” she said.

“We already found that proton pump inhibitors [acid reflux drugs such as Nexium and Prilosec] are associated with a higher risk for abnormally low magnesium levels, but we continue looking into other drugs,” she said.

Those at risk for low levels of magnesium include people who use proton pump inhibitors or diuretics, or people who have a diet low in magnesium, Kieboom said.

Foods that are good sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds, cashews, soy and black beans, whole grains, yogurt and avocados, she said.

The report was published online in the journal Neurology.

For the study, Kieboom and colleagues collected data on 9,569 people, average age 65, who took part in the Rotterdam Study and who didn’t have dementia. Participants had their blood levels of magnesium tested.

Over an average of eight years of follow-up, 823 participants developed dementia. Of those, 662 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers divided the participants into five groups based on their magnesium levels.

Those with the highest and the lowest levels of magnesium had an increased risk of dementia, compared with those in the middle groups, the researchers found.

Of the nearly 1,800 people in the low magnesium group, 160 developed dementia, as did nearly 180 in the high magnesium group.

Among the nearly 1,400 whose magnesium levels fell in between the highest and lowest levels, 102 developed dementia.

The findings held even after the researchers took into account other factors that could affect the risk for dementia. These included weight, smoking, alcohol use and kidney function.

Kieboom said that the study results have limitations, including that magnesium levels were measured only once, so they could have changed, and magnesium levels in the blood do not always show the total level of magnesium in the body.

One U.S. expert expressed caution over the findings.

“In general, I would worry most about low magnesium in the malnourished, for example, those suffering from alcoholism or starvation, and not so much in the general well-nourished population,” said Dr. Sam Gandy. He’s director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Gandy, however, isn’t convinced by this study alone that magnesium levels boost the risk for dementia.

“I am willing to be persuaded otherwise if several independent studies turn up magnesium disturbances related to dementia diagnoses,” he said.

“But as someone who lived through the 1970s ‘Throw away your pots and pans and antiperspirants’ purge [from the belief that aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s], I would like to see more and larger independent studies before getting married to the idea,” Gandy said.

Source: HealthyDay


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Proof that Magnesium Could Prevent Fractures

Magnesium could hold the key to preventing one of the most preventable causes of disability in middle-aged to elderly people, according to new research led by academics at the Universities of Bristol and Eastern Finland.

Bone fractures are one of the leading causes of disability and ill health especially among the ageing population and this increases the burden on the health care system. It is well-known that calcium and vitamin D play an important role in bone health. Magnesium is an essential nutrient and is an important component of the bone. Though there have been suggestions that magnesium may have a beneficial effect on bone health, no study has been able to show its effect on bone fractures.

Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Eastern Finland followed 2,245 middle-aged men over a 20-year period. They found that men with lower blood levels of magnesium had an increased risk of fractures, particularly fractures of the hip. The risk of having a fracture was reduced by 44 per cent in men with higher blood levels of magnesium. None of the 22 men who had very high magnesium levels (> 2.3 mg/dl) in the study population experienced a fracture during the follow-up period. In the same study, dietary magnesium intake was not found to be linked with fractures. A finding that has been consistently demonstrated in several previous studies.

Dr Setor Kunutsor, Research Fellow from the University of Bristol’s Musculoskeletal Research Unit and lead researcher, said: “The findings do suggest that avoiding low serum concentrations of magnesium may be a promising though unproven strategy for risk prevention of fractures.”

Although blood levels of magnesium depend on magnesium intake from food and water, this may not be the case for the elderly, people with certain bowel disorders, and those on certain medications. For such people, increasing the intake of foods rich in magnesium may not necessarily increase blood magnesium levels. Treating the underlying conditions and magnesium supplementation may be another way of avoiding low blood levels of magnesium.

These new findings may have public health implications as low blood levels of magnesium are very common in the population. This is especially among middle-aged to elderly individuals who are also prone to fractures. Majority of these individuals do not experience any symptoms. Since blood magnesium is not measured routinely in the hospital, individuals with low levels of magnesium are very difficult to identify. These findings could help trigger initiatives to include blood magnesium screening in routine blood panels, especially for the elderly.

Professor Jari Laukkanen from the University of Eastern Finland and principal investigator, said: “The overall evidence suggests that increasing serum magnesium concentrations may protect against the future risk of fractures; however, well-designed magnesium supplementation trials are needed to investigate these potential therapeutic implications.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Dietary Magnesium Associated with Reduced Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes

A diet rich in magnesium may reduce the risk of diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes according to a new meta-analysis published in the open access journal BMC Medicine. This analysis of the evidence on dietary magnesium and health outcomes is the largest to date, involving data from more than one million people across nine countries.

The researchers, from Zhejiang University and Zhengzhou University in China, found that people in the highest category of dietary magnesium consumption had a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease, 12% lower risk of stroke and a 26% lower risk of type-2 diabetes compared to those in the lowest category. Their results also indicate that an extra 100mg per day of dietary magnesium could also reduce risk of stroke by 7% and type-2 diabetes by 19%.

Dr Fudi Wang, lead author from the School of Public Health at Zhejiang University, said: “Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases but no conclusive evidence has been put forward on the link between dietary magnesium and health risks. Our meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence supporting a link between the role of magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease.”

Dr Wang added: “The current health guidelines recommend a magnesium intake of around 300mg per day for men and 270mg per day for women. Despite this, magnesium deficiency is relatively common, affecting between 2.5% and 15% of the general population. Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency related health risks.”

Magnesium is vital for human health and normal biological functions including glucose metabolism, protein production and synthesis of nucleic acids such as DNA. Diet is the main source of magnesium as the element can be found in foods such as spices, nuts, beans, cocoa, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.

In this analysis, data from 40 epidemiological studies covering a period from 1999 to 2016 were used to investigate associations between dietary magnesium and various diseases. In all the studies, levels of dietary magnesium were determined using a self-reported food frequency questionnaire or a 24-hour dietary recall. As the levels of magnesium used to define categories varied widely between the studies, the researchers performed a dose-response analysis for the effect of each 100mg per day increase of dietary magnesium.

This meta-analysis involves observational studies meaning that it is not possible to rule out the effect of other biological or lifestyle factors influencing the results. It is also not possible to determine if magnesium is directly responsible for reducing disease risk. However, the large size of this analysis provides robust data that were stable when adjusting for gender and study location. The authors state that their findings reinforce the notion that increased consumption of magnesium rich foods could be beneficial for overall health.

Source: Medical News Today


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