Magnesium contributes to the structural development of bone and is key in over 300 enzyme systems in the body. Studies have found a positive association between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women. Some research indicates magnesium deficiency may be a risk factor for osteoporosis. One study found that women with osteoporosis have lower serum magnesium levels than women with osteopenia and women without osteoporosis or osteopenia.
The “What we eat in America” report found that one-half of all people in the United States do not get adequate magnesium from food and water and that the problem is worse in some gender age groups. More than two thirds of adults 71 years and older had inadequate intake.
Good food sources of magnesium include almonds, cashews, peanuts, leafy green vegetables, legumes, seeds, dark chocolate and whole grains. Magnesium content is lowered substantially when grains are refined by methods that remove the nutrient-rich germ and bran. A bone healthy and varied diet that is high in vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains should meet normal magnesium needs. A dietary pattern dominated by meat, containing few vegetables and limited in whole grains is unlikely to meet magnesium requirements.
If it is not possible to meet magnesium needs with food alone then magnesium supplements should be discussed with your health care provider and tailored to your individual needs. Magnesium supplements can have a laxative effect, which is a positive for individuals with constipation, but as the dose increases can be a negative for others.
posted on 6/18/2015