Serum magnesium is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification in the Genetics of Atherosclerotic Disease (GEA) study

Nutr J. 2016 Mar 1;15:22. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0143-3.


Background: Serum magnesium is inversely associated to coronary artery calcification (CAC) in patients with chronic kidney disease. There is little information on this association in a general healthy population.

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional association of serum magnesium levels with CAC.

Methods: We included 1276 Mexican-mestizo subjects (50 % women), aged 30-75 years, free of symptomatic cardiovascular disease. CAC was quantified by multidetector computed tomography using the method described by Agatston. Cross-sectional associations of serum magnesium with cardiometabolic factors and subclinical atherosclerosis defined as a CAC score > 0, were examined in logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, education, smoking status, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, physical activity, elevated abdominal visceral tissue, fasting insulin and glucose, alcohol consumption, menopausal status (women only), low (LDL-C) and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides, diuretic use, type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), and family history of DM2.

Results: After full adjustment, subjects in the highest quartile of serum magnesium had 48 % lower odds of hypertension (p = 0.028), 69 % lower odds of DM2 (p = 0.003), and 42 % lower odds of CAC score > 0 (p = 0.016) compared to those with the lowest serum magnesium. The analyses also showed that a 0.17 mg/dL (1SD) increment in serum magnesium was independently associated with 16 % lower CAC (OR 0.84, 95 % CI 0.724-0.986).

Conclusions: In a sample of Mexican-mestizo subjects, low serum magnesium was independently associated to higher prevalence not only of hypertension and DM2, but also to coronary artery calcification, which is a marker of atherosclerosis and a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcinosis / pathology*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Motor Activity
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Magnesium