Magnesium and the risk of cardiovascular events: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57720. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057720. Epub 2013 Mar 8.


Background: Prospective studies that have examined the association between dietary magnesium intake and serum magnesium concentrations and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events have reported conflicting findings. We undertook a meta-analysis to evaluate the association between dietary magnesium intake and serum magnesium concentrations and the risk of total CVD events.

Methodology/principal findings: We performed systematic searches on MEDLINE, EMBASE, and OVID up to February 1, 2012 without limits. Categorical, linear, and nonlinear, dose-response, heterogeneity, publication bias, subgroup, and meta-regression analysis were performed. The analysis included 532,979 participants from 19 studies (11 studies on dietary magnesium intake, 6 studies on serum magnesium concentrations, and 2 studies on both) with 19,926 CVD events. The pooled relative risks of total CVD events for the highest vs. lowest category of dietary magnesium intake and serum magnesium concentrations were 0.85 (95% confidence interval 0.78 to 0.92) and 0.77 (0.66 to 0.87), respectively. In linear dose-response analysis, only serum magnesium concentrations ranging from 1.44 to 1.8 mEq/L were significantly associated with total CVD events risk (0.91, 0.85 to 0.97) per 0.1 mEq/L (P(nonlinearity)= 0.465). However, significant inverse associations emerged in nonlinear models for dietary magnesium intake (P(nonlinearity)= 0.024). The greatest risk reduction occurred when intake increased from 150 to 400 mg/d. There was no evidence of publication bias.

Conclusions/significance: There is a statistically significant nonlinear inverse association between dietary magnesium intake and total CVD events risk. Serum magnesium concentrations are linearly and inversely associated with the risk of total CVD events.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Magnesium

Grants and funding

This study was supported by Fund for National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2012CB619101), Major Basic Research of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (Grant No. 11DJ1400303), and Key Disciplines of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (Grant No. J50206). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.