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Effects of magnesium depletion on inflammation in chronic disease

Nielsen, Forrest H.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: November 2014 - Volume 17 - Issue 6 - p 525–530
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000093
MICRONUTRIENTS: Edited by Henry C. Lukaski and Gil Hardy

Purpose of review To update findings supporting the opinion that commonly occurring subclinical magnesium deficiency induced by a low dietary intake is a predisposing factor for chronic inflammatory stress that contributes to the incidence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Recent findings Both deficient magnesium intakes (<250 mg/day) and serum magnesium concentrations (≤0.75 mmol/l) have been associated with elevated serum C-reactive protein concentration, a widely used indicator of inflammation. Achieving magnesium intakes or serum magnesium concentrations that indicate an adequate magnesium status generally attenuates elevated serum C-reactive protein to concentrations that are not indicative of chronic low-grade inflammation. Individuals that are obese or have chronic diseases for which low-grade inflammation is a risk factor are commonly found to be magnesium-deficient.

Summary Subclinical magnesium deficiency caused by low dietary intake often occurring in the population is a predisposing factor for chronic inflammatory stress that is conducive for chronic disease. Magnesium deficiency should be considered a nutrient of significant concern for health and well-being.

Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA

Correspondence to Forrest H. Nielsen, 2420 2nd Avenue North, Stop 9034, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9034, USA. Tel: +1 701 795 8455; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins