A study has found that intake of magnesium through diet and supplements is positively associated with bone density throughout the whole body, particularly in older white adults.
Researchers say the effects are similar to that of calcium.
Over 2,000 black and white men and women ages 70-79 years old were asked to complete a questionnaire to determine how much magnesium they were receiving from food and various supplements. Additionally, researchers performed bone mineral density tests on the participants.
The study revealed that those who ingested more magnesium had significantly higher bone density than those who got the least amount of magnesium. For every 100 milligram per day increase in magnesium intake, data showed a 1% increase in bone density.
However, this link was only true for the older white men and women. Previous research has demonstrated that black men and women may process vitamin D and other calcium regulating hormones differently than whites, thus possibly explaining the lack of association between magnesium and bone density among them in this study.
" Although this [ 1% increase ] seems small, increases across a population may have large public health impact," states lead researcher Kathryn M. Ryder.
The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 320 mg/day for women and 420/mg day for men in this age group. Most people in this age group get far less than this daily amount.
Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2005