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JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jan;7(1):59-69. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Magnesium intake is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Heart Study.

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Nutritional Epidemiology Program, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Division of Intramural Research, and NHLBI's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts; Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; General Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiac MR PET CT Program and the Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Nutritional Epidemiology Program, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:



The aim of this study was to examine whether magnesium intake is associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC).


Animal and cell studies suggest that magnesium may prevent calcification within atherosclerotic plaques underlying cardiovascular disease. Little is known about the association of magnesium intake and atherosclerotic calcification in humans.


We examined cross-sectional associations of self-reported total (dietary and supplemental) magnesium intake estimated by food frequency questionnaire with CAC and AAC in participants of the Framingham Heart Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and underwent Multi-Detector Computed Tomography (MDCT) of the heart and abdomen (n = 2,695; age: 53 ± 11 years), using multivariate-adjusted Tobit regression. CAC and AAC were quantified using modified Agatston scores (AS). Models were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, fasting insulin, total-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio, use of hormone replacement therapy (women only), menopausal status (women only), treatment for hyperlipidemia, hypertension, cardiovascular disease prevention, or diabetes, as well as self-reported intake of calcium, vitamins D and K, saturated fat, fiber, alcohol, and energy. Secondary analyses included logistic regressions of CAC and AAC outcomes as cut-points (AS >0 and AS ≥90th percentile for age and sex), as well as sex-stratified analyses.


In fully adjusted models, a 50-mg/day increment in self-reported total magnesium intake was associated with 22% lower CAC (p < 0.001) and 12% lower AAC (p = 0.07). Consistent with these observations, the odds of having any CAC were 58% lower (p trend: <0.001) and any AAC were 34% lower (p trend: 0.01), in those with the highest compared to those with the lowest magnesium intake. Stronger inverse associations were observed in women than in men.


In community-dwelling participants free of cardiovascular disease, self-reported magnesium intake was inversely associated with arterial calcification, which may play a contributing role in magnesium's protective associations in stroke and fatal coronary heart disease.


AAC; AS; Agatston score; CAC; CKD; CT; ESRD; Framingham Heart Study; Framingham Heart Study Multi-Detector Computed Tomography Sub-study; GFR; IMT; MDCT; PWV; abdominal aortic calcification; chronic kidney disease; computed tomography; coronary artery calcification; diet; end-stage renal disease; glomerular filtration rate; intima-medial thickness; magnesium; pulse-wave velocity

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