Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 170, Issue 1, pp 33–42 | Cite as

Low Magnesium Levels in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome: a Meta-Analysis

  • Sang A. La
  • June Young Lee
  • Do Hoon Kim
  • E Lang Song
  • Jin Hee Park
  • Sang Yhun Ju


There is conflicting evidence regarding the relationship between magnesium deficiency and metabolic syndrome, and a systematic assessment of the literature has not been performed. Our objective was to clarify the association between magnesium levels and metabolic syndrome by performing a meta-analysis. Based on 13 eligible studies involving 14 analyses and 5496 enrolled participants, magnesium levels were significantly lower in adults with metabolic syndrome than in controls (standardized mean difference [SMD] = −0.98, 95 % confidence interval [CI] = −1.44 to −0.52). There was marked heterogeneity when all comparisons were considered (I 2 = 98 %, p < 0.001). In the subgroup meta-analysis and meta-regression model, a significant difference in magnesium levels was noted by geographic location and study quality. Magnesium levels were lower in the experimental cases than in the controls in West Asia (SMD = −3.80, 95 % CI = −5.36, −2.23) and Latin America (SMD = −1.38, 95 % CI = −1.88, −0.87), but not in East Asia (SMD = −0.01, 95 % CI = −0.30, 0.29) or Europe/Oceania (SMD = −0.25, 95 % CI = −0.53, 0.03). Moreover, the inverse association was greater in high-quality studies (SMD = −2.52, 95 % CI = −3.72, −1.32) than in low-quality studies (SMD = −0.33, 95 % CI = −0.57, −0.08). In conclusion, although there was a high level of heterogeneity, this meta-analysis provided convincing evidence of reduced magnesium levels in adults with metabolic syndrome based on the findings of observational studies. However, the present findings should be validated by additional prospective studies or trans-regional multicenter randomized controlled trials, which generally yield higher-level evidence than case–control studies and cross-sectional studies.

Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT02151227 ( Protocol Registration System); CRD42015017946 (


Magnesium Trace elements Serum Hair Mononuclear leukocytes Metabolic syndrome X Insulin resistance Observational study Meta-analysis 



We thank Kim, Na-Jin from the Medical Library, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, for performing database searches. This project was supported by a research grant from the Catholic Medical Center Research Foundation during the 2015 program year. Our study was partly supported by Food and Drug Networking Co., Ltd. The funding sources had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

The author’s responsibilities were as follows: S.Y.J. had full access to the entire study; took responsibility for the study integrity and the accuracy of the data analysis; designed the study; reviewed and revised the final manuscript; and contributed to the conception, design, statistical analysis, data interpretation, and manuscript drafting of this study. E.L.S. and D.H.K. contributed to the data interpretation. S.Y.J and S.A.L. contributed to the data extraction regarding evaluations of study methodological quality using criteria that had been previously established. J.Y.L contributed to the statistical analysis and provided technical support. J.H.P. contributed technical support. All of the authors approved the final manuscript for submission.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Yeouido St. Mary’s HospitalThe Catholic University of KoreaSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, College of MedicineKorea UniversitySeongbuk-gulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineKorea University Ansan HospitalDanwon-Gu, Ansan-Si Gyeonggi-DoRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Research, Research and Development CenterFood and Drug Networking Co., LtdSeoulRepublic of Korea

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