Magnesium Better For Bones?

Another Nutri report, this time showing research that suggests magnesium may be better for osteoporosis prevention after menopause than calcium (no surprise to me; I have always said many people have bone problems because they lack calcium’s co-mineral magnesium rather than being deficient in calcium itself.)

Here’s the report for you. Note that one of the measurements they used to see what was happening to bone was urinary DPD. This is the substance measured in the bone resorption test which is so easily and cheaply done at home:

“Is magnesium better than calcium for your bones?
A Research Review by Benjamin Brown ND

 Calcium has been subject to extensive research for bone health, but an equally or perhaps even more important nutrient may have been overlooked. 

A recent clinical trial has shown for the first time that magnesium supplementation reduces bone turnover in postmenopausal women.

To determine the effects of magnesium on bone turnover 20 postmenopausal women were divided into two groups, with 10 patients taking magnesium (magnesium citrate, 1,30 mg per day)  for 30 days. After treatment with magnesium there was a significant improvement in markers of bone turnover (serum osteocalcin and urinary deoxypyridinoline levels). 

Commenting on the importance of their findings the study investigators concluded that “this is the first study which shows that oral magnesium supplementation in postmenopausal osteoporotic women increases serum osteocalcin levels and decreases urinary deoxypyridinoline levels indicating a reduction in bone turnover. Although long-term studies are needed, the role of magnesium in the treatment and prophylaxis of osteoporosis cannot be overlooked.”


Importantly, as the investigators point out, this study suggests that magnesium decreases bone resorption and increases bone formation. In contrast hormone therapy or bisphosphonate treatment suppresses both bone formation and bone resorption in postmenopausal women whose bone turnover is hyperactivated.

 There is considerable evidence to suggest that magnesium intake is correlated with bone health. Unlike calcium however magnesium lacks large scale clinical trials. This study provides important insight into the mechanisms by which magnesium may improve bone metabolism.”

For more info on this topic generally, see the Osteoporosis factsheet on the PHC site.

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