Are you getting enough magnesium?
Your bones and muscles will thank you if you are.
Getting enough magnesium in the diet has been shown to be associated with significant improvements in bone health and muscle function, a study out of the University of East Anglia in the UK found.1
Researchers analysed the relationship between dietary magnesium and bone and skeletal muscle in over 150,000 men and women between the ages of 32 and 72 years. They found a clear relationship between higher magnesium intake and improvements in a range of measures including decreased muscular weakness (demonstrated by improved grip strength and muscle mass) and bone mineral density support.1
Why is this mineral important?
Magnesium is an essential macromineral involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions. These include energy production, nerve function, DNA and protein synthesis, as well as muscle contraction and the structural integrity of bones.2
In middle and older ages, our bones and muscles can weaken and we may become more prone to falls, frailty, loss of muscle mass and strength, and fractures.1,3 And while exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, is important for supporting bone and muscle health, what we eat impacts the health of all our tissues, including bone and muscle.1,3
Magnesium is found in a diverse array of plant and animal foods. Most green vegetables, (especially leafy kinds), legumes, peas, beans and nuts are rich sources, as are some shellfish and spices. Most unrefined cereals provide a moderate amount, but highly refined foods, including flours, fruits, oils and fats contribute little.4
Do Australians get enough?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports there is a high prevalence of inadequate magnesium intake in our population.
In a 2011-12 survey, one in three people (aged over 2 years) didn't get enough in their diets. Almost 50% men and 30% women aged 51-70 weren't consuming enough magnesium, while almost 65% men and 50% women over the age of 71 were also not getting enough dietary magnesium.5
What does this mean for you and me?
The authors of the study concluded that it's important to consume sufficient magnesium as well as protein for the health of skeletal muscle, and calcium for bones.1
We know our population is ageing, but we also know they want to remain healthy and active to a ripe old age. Getting enough dietary magnesium is important for musculoskeletal health and plays an important role in maintaining health in the Australian population.
- Welch A, et al. Nutrients 2017;9(11):1189.
- Volpe SL. Oregon State University 2019. Viewed 19 Sep 2019, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium
- Erem S, et al. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol2019;193:105400.
- NHMRC. Magnesium. NRV 2014. Viewed 19 Sep 2019, nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium
- ABS. Magnesium. Australian health survey: usual nutrient intakes, 2011-12.
Written by Sarah Culverhouse, Head of Education at Fusion Health