Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives
Forrest H Nielsen
Research Nutritionist Consultant, Grand Forks, ND, USA
Abstract: Animal studies have shown that magnesium deficiency induces an inflammatory response that results in leukocyte and macrophage activation, release of inflammatory cytokines and acute-phase proteins, and excessive production of free radicals. Animal and in vitro studies indicate that the primary mechanism through which magnesium deficiency has this effect is through increasing cellular Ca2+, which is the signal that results in the priming of cells to give the inflammatory response. Primary pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin (IL)-1; the messenger cytokine IL-6; cytokine responders E-selectin, intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1; and acute-phase reactants C-reactive protein and fibrinogen have been determined to associate magnesium deficiency with chronic low-grade inflammation (inflammatory stress). When magnesium dietary intake, supplementation, and/or serum concentration suggest/s the presence of magnesium deficiency, it often is associated with low-grade inflammation and/or with pathological conditions for which inflammatory stress is considered a risk factor. When magnesium intake, supplementation, and/or serum concentration suggest/s an adequate status, magnesium generally has not been found to significantly affect markers of chronic low-grade inflammation or chronic disease. The consistency of these findings can be modified by other nutritional and metabolic factors that affect inflammatory and oxidative stress. In spite of this, findings to date provide convincing evidence that magnesium deficiency is a significant contributor to chronic low-grade inflammation that is a risk factor for a variety of pathological conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Because magnesium deficiency commonly occurs in countries where foods rich in magnesium are not consumed in recommended amounts, magnesium should be considered an element of significant nutritional concern for health and well-being in these countries.
Keywords: magnesium deficiency, magnesium adequacy, inflammatory stress, oxidative stress, chronic disease
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