European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 210–216 | Cite as

Dietary magnesium intake is related to metabolic syndrome in older Americans

  • Nicola M. McKeownEmail author
  • Paul F. Jacques
  • Xinli L. Zhang
  • Wenyen Juan
  • Nadine R. Sahyoun



Magnesium (Mg) is an essential cofactor for enzymes involved in glucose and insulin metabolism. Low intakes of dietary magnesium may be linked to greater risk of metabolic syndrome (MS) in older adults.

Aim of the study

The objective of this study was to examine the cross-sectional relationship between dietary Mg intake, metabolic risk factors and MS in elderly adults.


This study was conducted in a sample of 535 (179 men and 356 women) community-living adults aged 60 years and in Boston Massachusetts between the years 1981 and 1984. Dietary Mg intake was assessed by a 3-day food record and categorized by quartiles of dietary intake. The MS was defined based on criteria set by the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program except that body mass index was used in place of waist circumference. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between quartile categories of Mg intake, prevalence of MS and components of the MS. Models were adjusted for age, gender, BMI, race, educational attainment, marital status, smoking status, alcohol intake, exercise, energy intake, percentage of calories from saturated fat, use of antihypertensive or lipid medication.


Mg intake was inversely associated with the MS; those with the highest intake of Mg had significantly lower risk of having MS compared to the lowest quartile of intake (OR: 0.36, 95% CI 0.19–0.69, P for trend 0.002). Significant inverse relationships were observed between Mg intake and BMI (OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.22–1.00, P trend = 0.03), and fasting glucose (OR: 0.41, 95% CI 0.22–0.77, P trend = 0.005).


Our study demonstrates that Mg intake is inversely associated with prevalence of the MS in older adults. Older adults should be encouraged to eat foods rich in Mg, such as green vegetables, legumes and whole-grains.


dietary magnesium metabolic syndrome older adults 


  1. 1.
    Allain CC, Poon LS, Chan CS, Richmond W, Fu PC (1974) Enzymatic determination of total serum cholesterol. Clin Chem 20:470–475Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barthelmai W, Czok R (1962) Enzymatic determinations of glucose in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid and urine. Klin Wochenschr 40:585–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bo S, Durazzo M, Guidi S, Carello M, Sacerdote C, Silli B, Rosato R, Cassader M, Gentile L, Pagano G (2006) Dietary magnesium and fiber intakes and inflammatory and metabolic indicators in middle-aged subjects from a population-based cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 84:1062–1069Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Corica F, Corsonello A, Ientile R, Cucinotta D, Di Benedetto A, Perticone F, Dominguez LJ, Barbagallo M (2006) Serum ionized magnesium levels in relation to metabolic syndrome in type 2 diabetic patients. J Am Coll Nutr 25:210–215Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Executive Summary of the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel (2001) On detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (adult treatment panel III). JAMA 285:2486–2497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Expert Committee on the Diagnosis, Classification of Diabetes Mellitus (2003) Report of the expert committee on the diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care 26:S5–S20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ford ES, Giles WH, Mokdad AH (2004) Increasing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among U.S. Adults. Diabetes Care 27:2444–2449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ford ES, Mokdad AH (2003) Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr 133:2879–2882Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Giegel JL, Ham AB, Clema W (1975) Manual and semi-automated procedures for measurements of triglycerides in serum. Clin Chem 21:1575–1581Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Guerrero-Romero F, Rodriguez-Moran M (2002) Low serum magnesium levels and metabolic syndrome. Acta Diabetol 39:209–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    He K, Liu K, Daviglus ML, Morris SJ, Loria CM, Van Horn L, Jacobs DR Jr., Savage PJ (2006) Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults. Circulation 113:1675–1682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    He W, Sengupta M, Velkoff VA, DeBarros KA (2005) 65+ in the United States: 2005. In Current Population Reports. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, pp 23–209Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Institute of Medicine (1997) Dietary reference intakes for calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, and fluoride. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lopes-Virella MF, Stone P, Ellis S, Colwell JA (1977) Cholesterol determination in high-density lipoproteins separated by three different methods. Clin Chem 23:882–884Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ma J, Folsom AR, Melnick SL, Eckfeldt JH, Sharrett AR, Nabulsi AA, Hutchinson RG, Metcalf PA (1995) Associations of serum and dietary magnesium with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, insulin, and carotid arterial wall thickness: the ARIC study. Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. J Clin Epidemiol 48:927–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Paolisso G, Passariello N, Pizza G, Marrazzo G, Giunta R, Sgambato S, Varricchio M, D’Onofrio F. (1989a) Dietary magnesium supplements improve B-cell response to glucose and arginine in elderly non-insulin dependent diabetic subjects. Acta Endocrinol (Copenh) 121:16–20Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Paolisso G, Sgambato S, Gambardella A, Pizza G, Tesauro P, Varricchio M, D’Onofrio F. (1992) Daily magnesium supplements improve glucose handling in elderly subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 55:1161–1167Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Paolisso G, Sgambato S, Pizza G, Passariello N, Varricchio M, D’Onofrio F. (1989b) Improved insulin response and action by chronic magnesium administration in aged NIDDM subjects. Diabetes Care 12:265–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Reaven GM (1988) Banting lecture 1988. Role of insulin resistance in human disease. Diabetes 37:1595–1607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rodriguez-Moran M, Guerrero-Romero F (2003) Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Diabetes Care 26:1147–1152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rosolova H, Mayer O Jr., Reaven GM (2000) Insulin-mediated glucose disposal is decreased in normal subjects with relatively low plasma magnesium concentrations. Metabolism 49:418–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Russell RM, Rasmussen H, Lichtenstein AH. (1999) Modified Food Guide Pyramid for people over seventy years of age. J Nutr 129:751–753Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sahyoun NR, Jacques PF, Zhang XL, Juan W, McKeown NM (2006) Whole-grain intake is inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome and mortality in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr 83:124–131Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Saris NE, Mervaala E, Karppanen H, Khawaja JA, Lewenstam A (2000) Magnesium. An update on physiological, clinical and analytical aspects. Clin Chim Acta 294:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Schulze MB., Schulz M, Heidemann C, Schienkiewitz A, Hoffmann K, Boeing H (2007) Fiber and magnesium intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study and meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med 167:956–965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Song Y, He K, Levitan EB, Manson JE, Liu S (2006) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials. Diabet Med 23:1050–1056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Song Y, Manson JE, Buring JE, Liu S (2004) Dietary magnesium intake in relation to plasma insulin levels and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care 27:59–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Song Y, Ridker PM, Manson JE, Cook NR, Buring JE, Liu S (2005) Magnesium intake, C-reactive protein, and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and older U.S. women. Diabetes Care 28:1438–1444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Yokota K, Kato M, Lister F, Ii H, Hayakawa T, Kikuta T, Kageyama S, Tajima N (2004) Clinical efficacy of magnesium supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Am Coll Nutr 23:506S–509SGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zhu S, Wang Z, Heshka S, Heo M, Faith MS, Heymsfield SB (2002) Waist circumference and obesity-associated risk factors among whites in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: clinical action thresholds. Am J Clin Nutr 76:743–749Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Spinger 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola M. McKeown
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul F. Jacques
    • 1
  • Xinli L. Zhang
    • 2
  • Wenyen Juan
    • 3
  • Nadine R. Sahyoun
    • 2
  1. 1.Nutritional Epidemiology Dept.Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition, Research Center on Aging, Tufts UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Food ScienceUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDAArlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations