The mineral Magnesium may decrease colon cancer risk

March 24, 2010

     Increased intakes of magnesium may reduce a man’s risk of colon cancer by over 50 % says a new observational study from Japan. Intakes of the mineral of at least 327 milligrams per day were found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 52 % compared to intakes less than 238 milligrams per day, but no benefits were observed in women according to this epidemiological study by researchers from Japan’s National Cancer Center in Tokyo.
     Earlier dietary surveys show that a large portion of adults do not meet the RDA for magnesium (320 mg per day for women and 420 mg per day for men). The Japanese researchers recruited 87,117 people with an average age of 57 and followed them for about eight years. Dietary intakes were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Average intakes of magnesium for men were 284 milligrams per day and for women were 279 milligrams per day. During the course of the study 689 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in men and 440 cases were diagnosed in women. Men with the highest average intakes of magnesium (at least 327 mg/day) were associated with a 52 % lower risk of colon cancer, compared to men who consumed the lowest average intakes. Colorectal cancer accounts for nine % of new cancer cases every year worldwide. The highest incidence rates are in the developed world. It remains one of the most curable cancers if diagnosis is made early.
     The mineral magnesium is involved in virtually everything in the body being implicated in more than 300 biochemical reactions, and toxicity issues being rare “oral magnesium supplementation is recommended”, concluded the reviewers Tavia Mathers and Renea Beckstrand from Brigham Young University. The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition.