October 14, 2013

Magnesium impacts vitamin D status

Magnesium and vitamin D appear to work together to reduce risk of death from cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.


Magnesium plays a critical role in the synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D, and studies suggest that low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.

Vitamin D is obtained from exposure to sunlight and is found in some foods, but low blood concentrations of vitamin D are fairly common in the U.S.

A new study led by Qi Dai, M.D., Ph.D., of Vanderbilt, along with colleagues from Harvard, found that high intake of magnesium – from the diet or supplements – was associated with significantly reduced risks of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. The investigators utilized data from participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study, reported in the August issue of BMC Medicine, further found that high serum vitamin D was associated with reduced risks of death from cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer only among those with high magnesium intake.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (CA149633, AT004660), the American Institute for Cancer Research and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (NIH grant TR000011).