Background: Magnesium deficiency is associated with poor physical performance, but no trials are available on how magnesium supplementation affects elderly people's physical performance.
Objective: The aim of our study was to investigate whether 12 wk of oral magnesium supplementation can improve physical performance in healthy elderly women.
Design: In a parallel-group, randomized controlled trial, 139 healthy women (mean ± SD age: 71.5 ± 5.2 y) attending a mild fitness program were randomly allocated to a treatment group (300 mg Mg/d; n = 62) or a control group (no placebo or intervention; n = 77) by using a computer-generated randomization sequence, and researchers were blinded to their grouping. After assessment at baseline and again after 12 wk, the primary outcome was a change in the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB); secondary outcomes were changes in peak torque isometric and isokinetic strength of the lower limbs and handgrip strength.
Results: A total of 124 participants allocated to the treatment (n = 53) or control (n = 71) group were considered in the final analysis. At baseline, the SPPB scores did not differ between the 2 groups. After 12 wk, the treated group had a significantly better total SPPB score (Δ = 0.41 ± 0.24 points; P = 0.03), chair stand times (Δ = -1.31 ± 0.33 s; P < 0.0001), and 4-m walking speeds (Δ = 0.14 ± 0.03 m/s; P = 0.006) than did the control group. These findings were more evident in participants with a magnesium dietary intake lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowance. No significant differences emerged for the secondary outcomes investigated, and no serious adverse effects were reported.
Conclusions: Daily magnesium oxide supplementation for 12 wk seems to improve physical performance in healthy elderly women. These findings suggest a role for magnesium supplementation in preventing or delaying the age-related decline in physical performance.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01971424.
© 2014 American Society for Nutrition.