By: Robert M. Blair, Ph.D.
Magnesium is a mineral element and one of the most abundant minerals in the body. The majority of the body’s magnesium is found in bone and muscle, indicating its potential importance to these tissues. Research has shown that magnesium has multiple potential health benefits, particularly in regards to heart and bone health, but a recent study explored the relationship between dietary magnesium intake and skeletal muscle strength and health 
For this study, the investigators measured muscle mass, grip strength, and bone mineral density in men and women 39 – 72 years of age and analyzed the relationship between these measures and dietary consumption of magnesium.
Overall, the results of this study showed that higher levels of magnesium intake were linked to improved grip strength and higher measures of muscle mass and bone mineral density. Higher levels of dietary magnesium (an average of 532 mg/day) increased grip strength by 1.1% in men and 2.4% in women compared to individuals with the lowest level of magnesium intake (an average of 238 mg/day). Similarly, skeletal muscle mass (as a percentage of body weight) was greater by 3.6% in women and 3% in men whom had the highest dietary magnesium intakes. Additionally, higher intakes of magnesium were associated with greater bone mineral density in both men (2.9%) and women (0.9%).
What It Means:
While these improvements may appear small, the investigators pointed out the average yearly loss of bone mineral density and muscle mass in men and women is smaller than the improvements observed with higher magnesium intake. This observation indicates the clinical importance of these improvements for the protection of bone and muscle strength/mass.
Considering that most individuals do not consume the recommended daily amounts of magnesium in their diet, magnesium supplementation may be an important way to get the magnesium we need to support healthy bones and muscles.
- Welch AA, Skinner J, Hickson M. Dietary magnesium may be protective for aging bone and skeletal muscle in middle and younger older age men and women: cross-sectional findings from the UK Biobank Cohort. Nutrients 2017; 9:1189.