According to a new study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, researchers identified an association between low serum magnesium levels and an increased risk of fracture. Most patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia that want to optimize their bone health are told by their traditional doctor to take calcium and vitamin D, and most never recommend magnesium to their patients. All alternative and integrative practitioners know the essential role of magnesium in several cellular processes including it being a major component in bone (50%).

A magnesium insufficiency is seen in most patients, which can be crucial in addressing and preventing disability in middle-aged to elderly people resulting from fractures.

Bone fractures are one of the leading causes of disability especially among the elderly. It is well-known that calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and trace minerals play an important role in bone health.

In this study, researchers followed 2,245 middle-aged men over a 20-year period. They found that men with lower serum magnesium levels had an increased risk of fractures, specifically fractures of the hip. The risk of having a fracture was reduced by 44% in men with higher blood levels of magnesium. None of the 22 men who had very high magnesium levels (> 2.3 mg/dl) had a fracture during the follow-up period.

Unfortunately, we do not have a great way to measure magnesium status. For example, serum magnesium which was used in this study only represents only 1% of magnesium stores, so if this is low, they have a severe deficiency. Magnesium is homeostatically controlled in the serum and measuring serum magnesium levels provides many false negatives. By the time your serum is low, you are very deficient as the body cannot maintain the serum magnesium levels. Red blood cell magnesium is definitely better and can be routinely assessed by most labs and it’s surprising to see how many patients are deficient.

As a result, these findings confirm the importance of assessing and addressing magnesium status in all patients but in this case those at an increased risk prevention of fractures.

RBC levels of magnesium do correlate with magnesium intake, however, this may not be the case for the elderly, those with specific GI condition, and those on certain medications. In these individuals increasing the intake of foods rich in magnesium may not increase their blood magnesium levels. It is important to address any underlying issues as well as providing magnesium supplementation.

Most individuals do not experience any symptoms or least associate their symptoms with low magnesium. Since blood magnesium is not routinely tested by traditional doctors and hospitals, it is often missed.

It is also important to consider collagen supplementation was well as to prevent fractures as it does make up a significant component many tissues such as bone.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Setor Kwadzo Kunutsor, Michael Richard Whitehouse, Ashley William Blom, Jari Antero Laukkanen. Low serum magnesium levels are associated with increased risk of fractures: a long-term prospective cohort study. European Journal of Epidemiology, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s10654-017-0242-2


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