Meta-analysis links higher magnesium levels with lower risk of premature mortality from all causes among kidney disease patients

Cross section of healthy kidneys before kidney disease


January 26, 2021

A systematic review and meta-analysis published on December 26, 2020 in Clinical Nutrition found an association between higher plasma or serum magnesium levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality and events and all-cause mortality during follow-up among men and women with chronic kidney disease.

Researchers at Vrije University in Amsterdam selected 33 studies that included 348,059 patients for the analysis. Subjects’ plasma or serum magnesium concentrations were obtained at the beginning of the studies and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular events, and/or other outcomes were documented during follow-up periods that varied from an average of 11.7 months to 278 months.

Each 0.1 millimole per liter increase in magnesium was associated with a 15% lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event or dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 10% lower risk of dying from any cause during follow-up. “This review and meta-analysis demonstrate that plasma magnesium concentration is inversely associated with all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality and events in patients with CKD including those on dialysis,” Nicoline J. J. Leenders and colleagues wrote. “The inverse association between magnesium and all-cause mortality not only exists for normal compared to low magnesium, but also for magnesium above the reference range compared to normal magnesium.”

The authors suggest the initiation of clinical trials to determine if plasma magnesium concentrations can be safely increased and to confirm the mineral’s effect on cardiovascular events and mortality and all-cause mortality. “In these trials, the intervention should ideally consist of an increase of dialysate magnesium in patients on dialysis, and dietary intervention or oral magnesium…in patients with CKD not on dialysis,” they recommended.


Apply What You’ve Learned: Chronic Kidney Disease

  • While acute kidney injury (formerly known as acute kidney failure) develops over a few hours or days, chronic kidney disease (CKD) develops over a period of years.
  • Chronic kidney disease is often associated with diabetes or high blood pressure, both of which damage the kidneys.
  • Kidney disease is staged from 1 to 5 according to the organs’ ability to filter the blood (glomerular filtration rate, or GFR). Stage 5 disease (kidney failure) is treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant from a donor with healthy kidneys.
  • Although oral magnesium intake was found to be safe and well tolerated in stage 3 and 4 CKD patients in a recent randomized trial, intake with the mineral by CKD patients should be discussed with their physicians.1


  1. Bressendorff I et al. Kidney Int Rep. 2017 May; 2(3): 380–389.

Featured Life Extension Magazine® Article

Detoxifying Effects of Lycopene

by Jeremy Hawkins

Lycopene—the carotenoid that gives tomatoes and certain other fruits their brilliant red color, is known for its association with a lower risk of prostate cancer.1 More recently, lycopene’s protective effect against toxins has come to light.

A review published in 2019 concluded that lycopene helps neutralize the effects of a variety of toxins, both natural and manmade. Lycopene combats oxidative stress caused by toxins, thereby helping to prevent resultant damage to DNA that increases the risk of cancer. Lycopene also inhibits a regulator of inflammation induced by toxin exposure and other factors. Furthermore, lycopene can enhance the activity of liver enzymes that detoxify chemicals that may be harmful.

One of the most promising findings involving lycopene is that of an association with longer life. A recent meta-analysis of 25 studies uncovered a 37% lower risk of premature mortality among people with the highest lycopene intake.


1. Rowles III JL et al. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2017 Dec;20(4):361-377.



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