Monday 12 June 2017

Magnesium supplementation prevents bone fractures

Research at the Universities of Bristol (UK) and East Finland has revealed that magnesium supplementation can prevent bone fractures in the elderly. The research also shows that simply eating more food containing high levels of magnesium isn’t sufficient.


It was already known that calcium and vitamin D play an important role in bone health, but until then no research had been performed into the effect of specifically magnesium on bone fractures. Bone fractures are the main cause of invalidity and poor health in people aged fifty and above and the elderly.


‘Avoid low serum levels’

For a 20-year period, 2,245 middle aged and older people were monitored. It was found that men with lower levels of magnesium in the blood were at an increased risk of fractures, in particular hip fractures. In men with higher levels of magnesium in the blood, the risk of a fracture was 44 percent lower.


None of the 22 men who had very high magnesium levels (> 2.3 mg/dl) sustained a fracture during the period they were monitored. "Although still unproven, the study suggests that preventing low serum levels of magnesium may be a promising strategy for the prevention of fractures."


Food alone isn’t sufficient

The study revealed that the higher blood levels and the preventative effect were not attributable to higher magnesium intake through the food.


Although the levels of magnesium in the blood depend on the intake through the food and water, this was found not to apply to the elderly, people with intestinal problems and people who took certain medicines. In these people, it is not sufficient to increase the amount of food containing high levels of magnesium. However, it does help to treat the underlying disorder and supplement with additional magnesium.


The researchers say: “Everything points towards the fact that increasing the serum magnesium levels can protect against future fractures. The potential therapeutic implications must be investigated further in suitably designed supplementation trials."


For information about the scientific background of magnesium supplementation, read the magnesium monograph.



Setor K. Kunutsor, Michael R. Whitehouse, Ashley W. Blom and Jari A. Laukkanen, Low serum magnesium levels are associated with increased risk of fractures: a long-term prospective cohort study, in European Journal of Epidemiology (2017).