Research Update: Magnesium

By: Robert M. Blair, Ph.D.



Recent research studies continue to demonstrate the multiple health benefits of magnesium.

One recent investigation conducted a meta-analysis on magnesium’s potential anti-inflammatory benefits [1]. For this study, data on magnesium supplementation and plasma levels of C-reactive protein were compiled from 11 different studies and analyzed. The results of this analysis showed that while magnesium supplementation did not affect plasma concentrations of C-reactive protein in the study population as a whole, magnesium supplementation decreased C-reactive protein in subjects with high C-reactive protein at the start of the studies. Since C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation, the study investigators concluded that magnesium supplements may have a beneficial effect on low-grade chronic systemic inflammation.

Another recent study explored the impact of dietary magnesium intake on fracture risk [2]. In this study the investigators determined the magnesium intake by older men and women (average age of 60 years) with a food frequency questionnaire and evaluated the incidence of osteoporotic fractures over an 8-year period. The results of this study demonstrated that men and women in the highest fifth of magnesium intake (more than 398 mg/d for men and 373 mg/d for women) had a 53% and 62% reduction in fracture risk, respectively. Interestingly, only 27% of the study population consumed the recommended amount of daily magnesium. Women consuming at least the recommended daily amount (320 mg/day) had a significant reduction in fracture risk (27%).

A third study explored the potential benefits of magnesium for symptoms of depression [3]. A randomized clinical trial was carried out in 126 adults diagnosed with mild to moderate symptoms of depression. Half the subjects were asked to take magnesium supplements (248 mg magnesium/day) during the first 6 weeks of the study and no magnesium during the second 6 weeks of the study. The other half of the study volunteers followed the reverse protocol. Supplementation with magnesium for 6 weeks resulted in a significant improvement in depression scores and generalized anxiety scores with beneficial effects observed within 2 weeks.

Lastly, one additional recent study examined the relationship between magnesium intake and hypertension [4]. Analysis of eight studies demonstrated an inverse relationship between magnesium consumption and hypertension such that group with the highest magnesium intake had an 8% lower risk for hypertension compared to the group with the lowest magnesium intake. Additionally, increasing magnesium intake by 100 mg/day was shown to reduce the risk for hypertension by 5%.

Overall, these studies provide further evidence of the multiple health benefits of magnesium.  Nonetheless, most of us do not consume the amount of magnesium we should each day. One of the studies above reported that only 27% of the study participants consumed the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Another study reported that 56% of U.S. women and 53% of U.S. men consume too little magnesium each day [5]. Considering the many potential benefits of magnesium, meeting the daily recommended intake may be more important than ever.





  1. Simental-Mendía LE, Sahebkar A, Rodríguez-Morán M, Zambrano-Galván G, Guerrero-Romero F. Effect of magnesium supplementation on plasma C-reactive protein concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Curr Pharm Des. 2017 May 25. doi: 10.2174/1381612823666170525153605. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Veronese N, Stubbs B, Solmi M, Noale M, Vaona A, Demurtas J, Maggi S. Dietary magnesium intake and fracture risk: data from a large prospective study. Br J Nutr 2017; Jun 20:1-7. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517001350. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD, Kennedy AG, Daley C. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One 2017; 12(6):e0180067. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180067.
  4. Han H, Fang X, Wei X, Liu Y, Jin Z, Chen Q, Fan Z, Aaseth J, Hiyoshi A, He J, Cao Y. 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 2017; 16(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12937-017-0247-4.
  5. Moshfegh A. What we eat in America, NHANES 2005 – 2006: usual nutrient intakes from food and water compared to 1997 dietary references intake for Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Washington, DC: Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture; 2009.