Magnesium Depletion Score (MDS) Predicts Risk of Systemic Inflammation and Cardiovascular Mortality among US Adults

J Nutr. 2021 Aug 7;151(8):2226-2235. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab138.


Background: Kidney reabsorption of magnesium (Mg) is essential for homeostasis.

Objectives: We developed and validated models with the kidney reabsorption-related magnesium depletion score (MDS) to predict states of magnesium deficiency and disease outcomes.

Methods: MDS was validated in predicting body magnesium status among 77 adults (aged 62 ± 8 y, 51% men) at high risk of magnesium deficiency in the Personalized Prevention of Colorectal Cancer Trial (PPCCT) (registered at as NCT01105169) using the magnesium tolerance test (MTT). We then validated MDS for risk stratification and for associations with inflammation and mortality among >10,000 US adults (weighted: aged 48 ± 0.3 y, 47% men) in the NHANES, a nationally representative study. A proportional hazards regression model was used for associations between magnesium intake and the MDS with risks of total and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.

Results: In the PPCCT, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) for magnesium deficiency was 0.63 (95% CI: 0.50, 0.76) for the model incorporating the MDS with sex and age compared with 0.53 (95% CI: 0.40, 0.67) for the model with serum magnesium alone. In the NHANES, mean serum C-reactive protein significantly increased with increasing MDS (P-trend < 0.01) after adjusting for age and sex and other covariates, primarily among individuals with magnesium intake less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR; P-trend < 0.05). Further, we found that low magnesium intake was longitudinally associated with increased risks of total and CVD mortality only among those with magnesium deficiency predicted by MDS. MDS was associated with increased risks of total and CVD mortality in a dose-response manner only among those with magnesium intake less than the EAR.

Conclusions: The MDS serves as a promising measure in identifying individuals with magnesium deficiency who may benefit from increased intake of magnesium to reduce risks of systemic inflammation and CVD mortality. This lays a foundation for precision-based nutritional interventions.

Keywords: C-reactive protein; NHANES; cardiovascular mortality; magnesium depletion score; magnesium tolerance test.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Magnesium*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Proportional Hazards Models


  • Magnesium

Associated data