Possible relationship between low birth weight and magnesium status: from the standpoint of "fetal origin" hypothesis

Magnes Res. 2006 Mar;19(1):63-9.


Magnesium deficiency in pregnant women is frequently seen because of inadequate or low intake of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency during pregnancy can induce not only maternal and fetal nutritional problems, but also consequences that might last in offspring throughout life. Many epidemiological studies have shown that restricted fetal growth, i.e. intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance in adult life. We previously postulated that the intracellular magnesium of cord blood platelets is lower in the small for gestational age group than in the appropriate for gestational age group, suggesting that intrauterine magnesium deficiency may result in IUGR. Taken together, intrauterine magnesium deficiency in the fetus may lead to or program the insulin resistance after birth. We hypothesize that intrauterine magnesium deficiency may induce a metabolic syndrome in later life. Prospective studies will further clarify whether infants with IUGR induced by magnesium deficiency are at higher risk for metabolic syndromes in childhood or adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Magnesium Deficiency*
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome


  • Magnesium