Both high, low levels of magnesium in blood linked to risk of dementia

September 20, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

People with both high and low levels of magnesium in their blood may have a greater risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in the September 20, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"These results need to be confirmed with additional studies, but the results are intriguing," said study author Brenda C.T. Kieboom, MD, MSc, of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. "Since the current treatment and prevention options for are limited, we urgently need to identify new risk factors for dementia that could potentially be adjusted. If could reduce their risk for dementia through diet or supplements, that could be very beneficial."

The study involved 9,569 people with an average age of 65 who did not have dementia whose blood was tested for levels. The participants were followed for an average of eight years. During that time, 823 people were diagnosed with dementia. Of those, 662 people had Alzheimer's disease.

The participants were divided into five groups based on their magnesium levels. Both those with the highest and the lowest levels of magnesium had an increased risk of dementia, compared to those in the middle group.

Both the low and high groups were about 30 percent more likely to develop dementia than those in the middle group. Of the 1,771 people in the low magnesium group, 160 people developed dementia, which is a rate of 10.2 per 1,000 person-years. For the high magnesium group, 179 of the 1,748 people developed dementia, for a rate of 11.4 per 1,000 person-years. For the middle group, 102 of the 1,387 people developed dementia, for a rate of 7.8.

The results were the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect the risk of dementia and magnesium levels, such as , smoking status, alcohol use and kidney function.

Kieboom noted that almost all of the participants had magnesium levels in the normal range, with only 108 people with levels below normal and two people with levels above normal.

Foods that are good sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds, cashews, soy and black beans, whole grains, yogurt and avocados.

Kieboom said that if the results are confirmed, blood tests to measure magnesium levels could be used to screen for people at risk of dementia. She emphasized that the study does not prove that high or low levels of magnesium cause dementia; it only shows an association.

Limitations of the study include that magnesium levels were measured only once, so they could have changed, and that magnesium levels in the blood do not always represent the total level of magnesium in the body.

Explore further: Proof that magnesium could prevent fractures

Related Stories

Proof that magnesium could prevent fractures

April 12, 2017
Magnesium could hold the key to preventing one of the most preventable causes of disability in middle-aged to elderly people, according to new research led by academics at the Universities of Bristol and Eastern Finland.

Lack of REM sleep may lead to higher risk for dementia

August 23, 2017
Spending less time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and taking longer to enter REM sleep are separately associated with a higher risk of developing dementia.

Diabetes may significantly increase your risk of dementia

September 19, 2011
People with diabetes appear to be at a significantly increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in the September 20, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Magnesium may modestly lower blood pressure

July 11, 2016
Magnesium, an essential element in the human body, may modestly lower blood pressure, according to research published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

Cynical? You may be hurting your brain health

May 28, 2014
People with high levels of cynical distrust may be more likely to develop dementia, according to a study published in the May 28, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Magnesium cuts diabetes risk

October 20, 2014
Getting enough magnesium in the diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, especially for those who already show signs of heading that way.

Recommended for you

Canola oil linked to worsened memory and learning ability in Alzheimer's

December 7, 2017
Canola oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world, yet surprisingly little is known about its effects on health. Now, a new study published online December 7 in the journal Scientific Reports by researchers ...

Genetics study suggests that education reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease

December 7, 2017
The theory that education protects against Alzheimer's disease has been given further weight by new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the European Union. The study is published today in the BMJ.

Healthy mitochondria could stop Alzheimer's

December 6, 2017
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and neurodegeneration worldwide. A major hallmark of the disease is the accumulation of toxic plaques in the brain, formed by the abnormal aggregation of a protein called ...

Alzheimer's damage in mice reduced with compound that targets APOE gene

December 6, 2017
People who carry the APOE4 genetic variant face a substantial risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

Lithium in water associated with slower rate of Alzheimer's disease deaths

December 5, 2017
Rates of diabetes and obesity, which are important risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, also decrease if there is a particular amount of lithium in the water, says the study, published recently in the Journal of Alzheimer's ...

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

December 5, 2017
A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that hyperbaric oxygen treatments may ameliorate symptoms experienced by patients with Alzheimer's disease.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.