Methodologies for using stable isotopes to assess magnesium absorption and secretion in children

J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Feb;18(1):30-5. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1999.10718824.


Objective: To provide methodological information regarding the absorption and excretion of dietary magnesium by children and adolescents.

Methods: Recently, stable isotope techniques for assessing magnesium absorption and excretion have been developed which allow for these studies to be safely performed in subjects of all ages. In the report, we describe the dosing and sample requirements for such studies.

Results: Our data demonstrate that, after oral and intravenous dosing of isotopes, a complete 72-hour urine collection will allow for determination of fractional magnesium absorption. In our study, urinary, but not endogenous fecal magnesium excretion, was closely correlated with magnesium intake (r = 0.47, p = 0.02 vs r = 0.08, p = 0.69). As endogenous fecal magnesium excretion is small relative to urinary magnesium excretion, measurement of endogenous fecal magnesium excretion is not needed to make a reasonable estimate of net magnesium retention for most studies. Using high-precision analytical techniques, an intravenous dose of 25Mg of approximately 0.2 to 0.3 mg/kg would be adequate for absorption measurements.

Conclusions: The cost and availability of isotopes and their analysis are such that it should be feasible for increasing numbers of investigators to make use of these techniques.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Isotopes
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / pharmacokinetics*
  • Magnesium / urine
  • Male


  • Isotopes
  • Magnesium