Magnesium intake and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: results from five large cohort studies

Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2013 Sep;14(5-6):356-61. doi: 10.3109/21678421.2013.803577. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


A low magnesium intake has been suggested to be associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in pathological and case-control studies, but prospective studies in humans are lacking. The relation between dietary intake of magnesium and ALS risk was explored in five large prospective cohort studies (the Nurses' Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, the Multiethnic Cohort Study, and the National Institutes of Health - AARP Diet and Health Study), comprising over 1,050,000 males and females contributing 1093 cases of ALS during a mean of 15 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models were used within each cohort, and cohort-specific estimates were subsequently pooled using a random-effects model. Results demonstrated that dietary magnesium intake was not associated with ALS risk, relative risk 1.07, 95% confidence interval 0.88 - 1.31 comparing the highest quintile of intake with the lowest. This finding does not support a protective effect of magnesium intake on ALS risk. Further analyses should explore magnesium intake in combination with heavy metal exposure and genetic variants affecting magnesium absorption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnesium*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Magnesium