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Magnesium Deficiency: What Is Our Status?

Hruby, Adela PhD, MPH; McKeown, Nicola M. PhD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000158
Continuing Education

Low magnesium intake has been implicated in a broad range of cardiometabolic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Dietary magnesium and total body magnesium status are widely used but imperfect biomarkers in serum magnesium. Despite serum magnesium’s limitations, it is nevertheless observed to be lower in those with cardiometabolic disease than in generally healthy people. Although some 50% of Americans do not meet recommended levels of magnesium intake, the extent of prevalent magnesium deficiency is unknown. Given magnesium’s role in a multitude of chronic conditions that are increasingly common across the globe, here, we summarize recently published literature reporting prevalent hypomagnesaemia in generally representative populations and in populations with type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. On the basis of these studies, we estimate that up to a third of the general population may be magnesium deficient and that outside of acute clinical encounters or hospitalization, hypomagnesaemia is likely frequently overlooked in general clinical practice.

Adela Hruby, PhD, MPH, is scientist II at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, where her research focuses on nutrients and dietary patterns in chronic disease.

Nicola M. McKeown, PhD, is an associate professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, and is scientist I at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr McKeown assisted in the conception and design of the manuscript and critically reviewed it.

This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, under agreement no. 58-1950-4-003.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Adela Hruby, PhD, MPH, Nutritional Epidemiology Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington St, 9th Fl, Boston, MA 02111 (adela.hruby@tufts.edu).

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