The magnesium content in food consumed in the Western world is steadily decreasing. Hypomagnesemia is associated with increased incidence of diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, all-cause and coronary artery disease mortality. We investigated the impact of supplemental oral magnesium citrate versus magnesium oxide on intracellular magnesium levels ([Mg2+]i) and platelet function in healthy subjects with no apparent heart disease. In a randomized, prospective, double-blind, crossover study, 41 (20 women) healthy volunteers [mean age 53±8 (range 31-75) years] received either magnesium oxide monohydrate tablets (520 mg/day of elemental magnesium) or magnesium citrate tablets (295.8 mg/day of elemental magnesium) for one month (phase 1), followed by a four-week wash-out period, and then crossover treatment for one month (phase 2). [Mg2+]i was assessed from sublingual cells through x-ray dispersion (normal values 37.9±4.0 mEq/L), serum magnesium levels, platelet aggregation, and quality-of-life questionnaires were assessed before and after each phase. Oral magnesium oxide, rather than magnesium citrate, significantly increased [Mg2+]i (34.4±3 versus 36.3±2 mEq/L, p<0.001 and 34.7±2 versus 35.4±2 mEq/L, p=0.097; respectively), reduced total cholesterol (201±37 versus 186±27 mg/dL, p=0.016 and 187±28 versus 187±25 mg/dL, p=0.978; respectively) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (128±22 versus 120±25 mg/dL, p=0.042 and 120±23 versus 121±22 mg/dL, p=0.622; respectively). Noteworthy is that both treatments significantly reduced epinephrine-induced platelet aggregation (78.9±16% versus 71.7±23%, p=0.013 and 81.3±15% versus 73.3±23%, p=0.036; respectively). Thus, oral magnesium oxide treatment significantly improved [Mg2+]i, total and LDL cholesterol compared with magnesium citrate, while both treatments similarly inhibited platelet aggregation in healthy subjects with no apparent heart disease.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00994006.