Geriatric Nephrology and Urology

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 101–111 | Cite as

Magnesium metabolism and perturbations in the elderly

  • Mildred S. Seelig
  • Harry G. Preuss
Review Article


It is generally accepted that magnesium requirements increase in the elderly. Multiple reasons for this exist. In the elderly, magnesium intake tends to be low, intestinal absorption is frequently diminished, and urinary output is often enhanced. As a result, the magnesium status of aging subjects is likely to be marginal, if not frankly deficient. Because magnesium plays important roles in arterial structure and function by maintaining endothelial and platelet integrity, a deficiency can increase progression of arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and cardiac complications, including dysryhthmias. Magnesium inhibits pathological calcification, and a deficiency can contribute to formation of calcium uroliths. The element's role in calcium metabolism (improving utilization) and bone matrix formation (maintaining bone elasticity) might be important in preventing osteoporosis and brittleness of bones. Accordingly, physicians must always consider magnesium status in elderly patients.

Key words

magnesium pathophysiology elderly 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mildred S. Seelig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Harry G. Preuss
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Community and Preventive MedicineNew York Medical CollegeValhalla
  2. 2.Department of NutritionUniversity of North CarolinaChapel Hill
  3. 3.Department of Medicine (Nephrology Division)Georgetown University Medical CenterWashington DCUSA

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