Dietary supplementation with magnesium may reduce levels of inflammatory biomarkers, says a new meta-analysis pooling data from 11 studies.
Researchers from Mexico, Iran, and Australia focused on C-reactive protein (CRP), an established marker of inflammation, and found that in people with high levels of CRP – indicative of chronic inflammation – magnesium supplementation was associated with significant reductions in CRP.
“This finding suggests that magnesium supplements may have a beneficial role as an adjuvant for the management of low-grade chronic systemic inflammation),” wrote the researchers in Current Pharmaceutical Design .
The results add to an ever growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of the mineral. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists magnesium as being necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, from helping maintain normal muscle and nerve function, to keeping heart rhythm steady, supporting a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong. The mineral is also needed for blood sugar management, and healthy blood pressure.
The science and positive regulatory decisions have led to increased interest from consumers in magnesium and this has led to increasing sales. According to SPINS , US sales of magnesium supplements across natural, specialty gourmet and conventional multi outlet channels grew 15.2% to $85,217,687 for the 52 weeks ending January 24, 2016, up from $73,993,936 from the previous 52 weeks.
And with 70-80% of the US population not meeting their recommended intakes of magnesium, the market is expected to continue to grow. Indeed, some industry experts are predicting that magnesium sales in the nutrition market will surpass calcium by 2020.
The researchers identified 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) studying the effect of oral magnesium supplementation on plasma CRP.
The pooled data showed that, while no overall effect of magnesium on CRP levels was observed, when they focused on people with elevated CRP levels at the start of the RCTs, magnesium pills were associated with a significant reduction in CRP levels over the course of the study.
“Results of the present meta-analysis indicated that magnesium supplementation reduces CRP levels among individuals with inflammation (CRP levels > 3 mg/dL,” wrote the researchers.