The analysis, which used cross-sectional studies and therefore shows correlation and not causation, also found that the risk of having metabolic syndrome decreased by 17% for every 100 mg per day increase in magnesium.
Scientists from Indiana University (USA) and Jikei University (Japan) report that magnesium may influence metabolic syndrome via multiple mechanisms, including effects on glucose metabolism, lipid uptake in the liver, inflammatory mediators, and smooth muscle activity.
“The cumulative evidence from the present meta-analysis indicates that dietary magnesium intake and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome are inversely associated,” they wrote in Diabetic Medicine. “Metabolic syndrome is less prevalent in participants with a higher level of dietary magnesium intake. Results from this study support the hypothesis that a low level of dietary magnesium intake is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome.”
‘Necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions’
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists magnesium as being necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, from helping maintain normal muscle and nerve function, to keeping heart rhythm steady, supporting a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong. The mineral is also needed for blood sugar management, and healthy blood pressure.
In Europe, the difficult to please European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued positive opinions on magnesium and the maintenance of normal bone, teeth, and protein synthesis; the reduction of tiredness and fatigue; electrolyte balance; normal energy-yielding metabolism; neurotransmission, and muscle contraction.
Despite the benefits it is reported that between 70 and 80% of the US population are not meeting their recommended intakes of magnesium.
Consumers and healthcare professionals are waking up to the issue, and magnesium supplement sales are on the rise. According to SPINS, US sales of magnesium supplements in natural (excluding Whole Foods) and conventional outlet (including Walmart) grew by almost 20% from 2011 to 2012, to be worth $67,875,702. Growth from 2010 to 2011 was 15%.
The researchers identified six studies providing data on 24,473 people and 6,311 cases of metabolic syndrome. The average magnesium intakes ranged from 117 to 423 mg per day. Crunching the numbers indicate that people with the highest average dietary intakes of magnesium were at a 31% lower risk of metabolic syndrome than people with the lowest average intakes.
Furthermore, every 100 mg per day increase in magnesium intake reduced the overall risk of having metabolic syndrome by 17%.
“The findings from the present meta-analysis provide evidence that dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome,” wrote the researchers. “Further studies, especially well-designed longitudinal cohort studies and randomized placebo-controlled trials, are warranted to provide stronger evidence and establish causal inference.”
The study was partially funded by National Institutes of Health.
Source: Diabetic Medicine
November 2014, Volume 31, Issue 11, Pages: 1301–1309, doi: 10.1111/dme.12537
“Dietary magnesium intake and risk of metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis”
Authors: D. T. Dibaba, P. Xun, A. D. Fly, K. Yokota, K. He