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Magnesium may prevent bone fractures

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A diet rich in magnesium may reduce the risk of diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, according to a new meta-analysis published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

New research – conducted by scientists from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio – suggests that low levels of magnesium may increase the risk of bone fractures and that, conversely, high levels may ward off this cause of disability.

The findings were published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, and the team was led by Dr. Setor Kunutsor, a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol’s Musculoskeletal Research Unit.

Calcium and vitamin D have both been shown to play key roles in maintaining healthy bones. Additionally, some previous studies have suggested that magnesium may also improve bone health, as magnesium deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Magnesium is an essential mineral, and abnormally low magnesium levels can inhibit vitamin D and calcium homeostasis in bones. The new research investigates the effect of magnesium on bone fractures, specifically. The study was based on a large population sample of 2,245 middle-aged men, who were clinically followed for 20 years.

During this time, the researchers found that participants with low levels of serum magnesium had a significantly higher risk of bone fractures. The association was stronger for hip fractures. Men with higher levels of magnesium were 44 percent less likely to have bone fractures. Additionally, over the 20-year follow-up period, none of the 22 men who had very high levels of magnesium had a bone fracture.

High blood magnesium levels were defined as more than 2.3 milligrams per deciliter.The same study investigated the link between dietary magnesium and bone fractures, and found no association. According to the researchers, this is consistent with previous studies.


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