Relations of Dietary Magnesium Intake to Biomarkers of Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction in an Ethnically Diverse Cohort of Postmenopausal Women

  1. Sara A. Chacko, MPH1,
  2. Yiqing Song, MD, SCD2,
  3. Lauren Nathan, MD3,
  4. Lesley Tinker, PHD4,
  5. Ian H. de Boer, MD5,
  6. Fran Tylavsky, DRPH6,
  7. Robert Wallace, MD7 and
  8. Simin Liu, MD, SCD1,8
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Program on Genomics and Nutrition, School of Public Health, and Center for Metabolic Diseases Prevention, UCLA, Los Angeles, California;
  2. 2Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California;
  4. 4Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington;
  5. 5Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington;
  6. 6Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee;
  7. 7Departments of Epidemiology and Internal Medicine, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, Iowa;
  8. 8Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, California.
  1. Corresponding author: Simin Liu, siminliu{at}


OBJECTIVE Although magnesium may favorably affect metabolic outcomes, few studies have investigated the role of magnesium intake in systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in humans.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Among 3,713 postmenopausal women aged 50–79 years in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes at baseline, we measured plasma concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), turnor necrosis factor-α receptor 2 (TNF-α-R2), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), and E-selectin. Magnesium intake was assessed using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire.

RESULTS After adjustment for age, ethnicity, clinical center, time of blood draw, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, energy intake, BMI, and diabetes status, magnesium intake was inversely associated with hs-CRP (P for linear trend = 0.003), IL-6 (P < 0.0001), TNF-α-R2 (P = 0.0006), and sVCAM-1 (P = 0.06). Similar findings remained after further adjustment for dietary fiber, fruit, vegetables, folate, and saturated and trans fat intake. Multivariable-adjusted geometric means across increasing quintiles of magnesium intake were 3.08, 2.63, 2.31, 2.53, and 2.16 mg/l for hs-CRP (P = 0.005); 2.91, 2.63, 2.45, 2.27, and 2.26 pg/ml for IL-6 (P = 0.0005); and 707, 681, 673, 671, and 656 ng/ml for sVCAM-1 (P = 0.04). An increase of 100 mg/day magnesium was inversely associated with hs-CRP (−0.23 mg/l ± 0.07; P = 0.002), IL-6 (−0.14 ± 0.05 pg/ml; P = 0.004), TNF-α-R2 (−0.04 ± 0.02 pg/ml; P = 0.06), and sVCAM-1 (−0.04 ± 0.02 ng/ml; P = 0.07). No significant ethnic differences were observed.

CONCLUSIONS High magnesium intake is associated with lower concentrations of certain markers of systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in postmenopausal women.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Received July 29, 2009.
    • Accepted October 28, 2009.
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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 33 no. 2 304-310
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