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Meta-analysis finds higher magnesium intake associated with lower risk of stroke, diabetes, heart failure, death during up to 30 years of follow-up

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

On December 8, 2016 BMC Medicine published the results of a meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Zhejiang University and Zhengzhou University in China which concluded that consuming a higher amount of magnesium is associated with a lower risk of heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality during up to 30 years of follow-up. The meta-analysis is the first to investigate the effect of dietary magnesium intake on the risk of heart failure and the first quantitative meta-analysis to examine the dose-response relationship between dietary magnesium intake and all-cause mortality.

Fudi Wang of Zhejiang University’s School of Public Health and colleagues selected 40 publications that included a total of over a million subjects for their analysis. Food frequency questionnaire or dietary recall responses provided information concerning magnesium intake.

Over the studies' follow-up periods, 7,678 cases of cardiovascular disease, 6,845 cases of coronary heart disease, 701 cases of heart failure, 14,755 cases of stroke, 26,299 cases of type 2 diabetes and 10,983 deaths were documented. Each 100 milligram (mg) per day increase in magnesium intake was associated with a 22% reduction in heart failure risk, a 7% decrease in stroke risk, a 19% decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes and a 10% lower risk of dying from any cause.

In their discussion, the authors observe that, in comparison with oral supplements and intravenous infusions, increasing the intake of magnesium via the diet may only moderately increase magnesium levels. Although foods such as nuts, beans and whole grains are good sources of the mineral, the authors advise that the daily requirement for magnesium is difficult to achieve by consuming a single serving of any one food item.

"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 stated. "Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency related health risks."

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