Magnesium Shown to Help Prevent Osteoporosis
More than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
and tens of millions more have a milder form of bone loss (osteopenia). At
least 1.2 million fractures occur each year as a direct result of
osteoporosis, and the annual cost of treating this disorder is $14 billion
and climbing. Risk factors for osteoporosis include smoking, excessive
alcohol consumption, high intake of carbonated beverages (especially
colas), sedentary lifestyle, and a family history of the disease. Certain
medical conditions, including diabetes, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism,
and rheumatoid arthritis, are also associated with increased osteoporosis
risk. Some medications accelerate bone loss; these include drugs used for
epilepsy, steroid medications such as prednisone, and aluminum-containing
Magnesium plays an important role in bone-building by supporting the
function of an enzyme involved in bone formation. In the new study, more
than 2,000 elderly volunteers completed a questionnaire that assessed their
intake of magnesium and other nutrients. In white, but not black, men and
women, a higher magnesium intake was associated with greater whole-body
bone mineral density, after adjusting for calcium and vitamin D intake,
level of exercise, use of estrogen medication, and other factors known to
be related to bone health. It is not clear why magnesium was protective
only for whites, but blacks had higher levels of bone density than did
whites at all levels of magnesium intake.
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The study did not adjust for all potentially important dietary variables,
which limits the usefulness of the findings. People who consumed more
magnesium also ate more fruits and vegetables, compared with those who had
lower magnesium intake. Fruits and vegetables contain many other nutrients
besides magnesium, some of which have a beneficial effect on bone health.
The study does, however, support previous research showing that magnesium
supplementation prevents bone loss. In one of those studies, women in early
menopause who were given 250 to 750 mg of magnesium per day for one year
had an increase in bone mineral density in 71% of cases. Normally, bone
density decreases by 3 to 8% per year in the early years of menopause, and
increases during that time are unusual.
Good food sources of magnesium include whole grains, nuts, beans, dark
green vegetables, fish, and meat. Other nutrients that have been shown to
play a role in bone health include vitamin K, strontium, silicon, zinc,
copper, vitamin B6, folic acid, manganese, and vitamin D.
Healthnotes Newswire - Increasing magnesium intake may help prevent the
bone loss that leads to osteoporosis, reports a study in the Journal of the
American Geriatrics Society (2015;53:1875-80).
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