It’s Good for Us

Food editor’s note: Because people with kidney disease may not be able to excrete excess amounts of magnesium, they should not consume magnesium supplements unless prescribed by a physician. More information about magnesium can be found at:

So Why Aren’t We Consuming Enough Magnesium?

| Jan 1, 2006

Even though an adequate dietary intake of magnesium may alleviate the risk of cardiovascular disease, most Americans still consume magnesium at levels well below the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

In a cross-sectional nationally representative survey, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston reviewed the diets of participants who were not taking magnesium or magnesium-containing supplements. Their results suggest that inadequate dietary magnesium consumption is associated with Creactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.

“Among U.S. adults, 68 percent consumed less than the recommended daily allowance of magnesium, and 19 percent consumed less than 50 percent of the RDA,” the researchers wrote.

They add that adults who consumed less than the RDA of magnesium were 1.48 to 1.75 times more likely to have elevated CRP than adults who consumed more magnesium than the RDA. In addition, adults over age 40 with a BMI greater than 25 who consumed less than 50 percent of the RDA for magnesium were 2.24 times more likely to have elevated CRP than adults consuming the RDA.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 2005

Current dietary guidelines recommend adequate daily intake of magnesium (320 mg for adult women and 420 mg for adult men) in order to maintain health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition

Dana E. King, MD, MS, of the Medical University of South Carolina was a lead researcher on the magnesium study:

Why is this study important?

It demonstrates for the first time that there is an association between magnesium intake and CRP levels. Most people consume less than the recommended daily allowance of magnesium. One of the possible consequences of that is elevated CRP levels. In our study, after taking other risk factors into account, adults who consumed less than the RDA were 48 to 75 percent more likely to have elevated CRP than people who consumed the RDA or more.

What are some dietary sources of magnesium?

Halibut (3 oz.), almonds and other nuts (1 oz.), soybeans (1/2 cup), spinach (1/2 cup), and oatmeal (1 cup) all provide approximately 75 mg toward the recommended dietary allowance of 320 mg for adult women and 420mg for adult men.

Were can people get magnesium in pill form?

It is available over the counter in common multiple vitamin and mineral supplements, in calcium-magnesium combinations and individually. No prospective studies have yet shown that taking a magnesium supplement will lower CRP levels.

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Categories: Nutrition Research, Vitamins

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