Rising Ca:Mg intake ratio from food in USA Adults: a concern?

Magnes Res. 2010 Dec;23(4):S181-93. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2010.0221. Epub 2011 Jan 14.


USDA food surveys from 1977 through 2007-8 show a rising food Ca:Mg ratio for all USA adult age-gender groups. Food Ca:Mg intake ratios rose from 2.3-2.9 in 1977 to 2.9-3.5 in 2007-8. The % rise in mean Mg intakes compared closely with % rise in mean energy intakes while % rise in mean Ca intakes were substantially higher in all groups, suggesting the rising Ca:Mg comes from higher Ca intakes via food selections, rising food Ca contents or both. Original intake data from these surveys need to be accessed to calculate each individual's Ca:Mg for statistical assessment of this ratio rise. Ca:Mg rose from largely below 3.0 in 1994-5 to generally above or approaching 3.0 after 2000, coinciding with a sharp 2% rise in type 2 diabetes incidence and prevalence in the USA population and a 1994-2005 rise in colorectal cancer incidence among young white, non-Hispanic adult men and women in the USA. The intracellular Ca activation response to low Mg is discussed as a possible mechanism linking metabolic and inflammatory syndromes with low dietary Mg and rising dietary Ca:Mg ratio. Adequacy of both Ca and Mg as well as the Ca:Mg ratio are important in assessing study outcomes. Health consequences should be considered for the USA's 64-67% adults not meeting their Mg requirement from foods, many also consuming below their Ca requirements, and their increasing Ca:Mg ratio from foods.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Magnesium*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Nutritional Requirements


  • Magnesium
  • Calcium