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Calcium and Magnesium May Be Associated with Decreased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

A new study has found an association between an increased intake of both calcium and magnesium and a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including abdominal obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels, that is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, analyzed dietary data from 9,148 adults to determine their calcium and magnesium intakes. Researchers also monitored the participants for signs of metabolic syndrome. Here is what they found:

  • Women that met the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) of calcium (1000–1200 mg/day) and magnesium (310–320 mg/day) had a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome compared with women with lower intakes.
  • Men that met the RDAs for calcium (1,000–1,200 mg/day) and magnesium (400–420 mg/day) had the same risk of metabolic syndrome as men with lower intakes.
  • However, men with the highest intake of calcium, which included all the men with calcium intakes above 1,224 mg per day (slightly above the RDA and up), and the highest intake of magnesium, which included all the men with magnesium intakes above 386 mg per day (slightly below the RDA and up), had a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

This research suggests that women may have reduced odds for metabolic syndrome if they meet the calcium and magnesium RDAs, while men may benefit from getting the RDA of magnesium plus more calcium than current recommendations indicate. However, this study is observational, so more clinical research is needed to validate the findings. In the meantime, you can boost your calcium and magnesium intake with a variety of foods. For example, milk, cheese, and leafy greens like kale all contain calcium, and legumes, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens like spinach all contain magnesium. A multivitamin supplement can also help you increase your intake of these vitamins.

Source: British Journal of Nutrition

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