Magnesium in joint health and osteoarthritis

Nutr Res. 2021 Jun:90:24-35. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2021.03.002. Epub 2021 Apr 1.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent debilitating age-related skeletal disease. The hallmark of OA is the degradation of articular cartilage that cushions the joint during movement. It is characterized by chronic pain and disability. Magnesium, a critical trace element in the human body, plays a pivotal role in metabolism homeostasis and the energy balance. Humans obtain magnesium mainly from the diet. However, inadequate magnesium intake is not uncommon. Moreover, the magnesium status deteriorates with ageing. There has been a growing body of clinical studies pointing to an intimate relationship between dietary magnesium and OA although the conclusion remains controversial. As reported, the magnesium ion concentration is essential to determine cell fate. Firstly, the low-concentration magnesium ions induced human fibroblasts senescence. Magnesium supplementation was also able to mitigate chondrocyte apoptosis, and to facilitate chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. In this literature review, we will outline the existing evidence in animals and humans. We will also discuss the controversies on plasma or intracellular level of magnesium as the indicator of magnesium status. In addition, we put forward the interplay between dietary magnesium intake and intestinal microbiome to modulate the inflammatory milieu in the conjecture of OA pathogenesis. This leads to an emerging hypothesis that the synergistic effect of magnesium and probiotics may open a new avenue for the prevention and treatment of OA.

Keywords: Ageing; Cellular Senescence; Gut microbiome; Magnesium; Osteoarthritis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Chondrocytes / cytology
  • Chondrocytes / physiology
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Humans
  • Joints
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Magnesium / physiology*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / physiopathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteoblasts / physiology


  • Magnesium