Postprandial hyperlipidaemia has been recognised to be a risk factor for atherosclerosis development. Epidemiological and animal studies have shown that Mg intake is inversely associated with some risk factors of atherosclerosis, including lipid metabolism. The present study was performed to determine the effects of Mg supplementation on postprandial responses in serum lipid levels. We used bittern (Nigari, in Japanese), a natural MgCl(2) solution from sea or salt lake water, for Mg supplementation. In a two-way, randomised, crossover study, sixteen healthy male volunteers consumed 30 g butter with or without 5 ml bittern containing 500 mg of Mg. Fasting and postprandial blood samples were taken 2, 3, 4 and 6 h after ingestion. Postprandial lipid responses were evaluated by serum TAG, chylomicron TAG, apo-B48, remnant-like particle cholesterol (RLP-C) and NEFA concentrations. We found that the serum and the chylomicron TAG responses after the fat load were reduced and delayed by Mg supplementation. The concentrations of apo-B48 (P < 0.05), RLP-C (P < 0.05) and NEFA (P < 0.05) were significantly lower at 2 h after the fat-with-Mg meal compared with the fat-only meal. The present study indicated that Mg supplementation could inhibit fat absorption and improve postprandial hyperlipidaemia in healthy subjects.