A new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that high magnesium intake may be associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is needed by the body for the proper functioning of the nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems. A lack of magnesium can result in a wide range of health issues ranging from irritability and muscle weakness to irregular heartbeat. The good sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach and kale), grains, nuts, beans and milk products.
The study was conducted by researchers at Soochow University in China and found a link between increased magnesium intake and decreased risk of colon cancer.
For the new study, the Chinese researchers analyzed data from eight prospective studies containing 338,979 participants with 8,000 cases of colorectal cancer. The results showed that the highest average intakes of magnesium were associated with an 11% reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer, compared with the lowest average intakes.
When the analysis was restricted to the six studies that adjusted for calcium intake, the results showed that the risks of colon and rectal cancer were 19% and 6% lower, respectively for the highest average magnesium intakes.
“On the basis of the findings of this meta-analysis, a higher magnesium intake seems to be associated with a significant reduction in the risk of Colorectal cancer, particularly colon cancer”, the researchers noted.
In addition, an early meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that for every 100 mg per day increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colon cancer reduced by 12%. Early dietary surveys show that a large proportion of adults do not meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium – 420 mg per day for men and 320 mg per day for women.
Researchers from Soochow University said that they did not detect any publication bias.