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Eur J Nutr. 2008 Jun;47(4):210-6. doi: 10.1007/s00394-008-0715-x. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Dietary magnesium intake is related to metabolic syndrome in older Americans.

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Nutritional Epidemiology Department, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



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.


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.

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