Magnesium status in healthy free-living elderly Norwegians

J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Feb;13(1):45-50. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1994.10718370.


Objective: Magnesium (Mg) status has previously not been properly assessed among healthy elderly subjects.

Methods: Thirty-six healthy elderly subjects participated. Their Mg status was assessed by serum Mg, basal urinary Mg output, and with a Mg loading test (30 mmol infused during 8 hours; urine sampled 24 hours), and compared with 53 healthy younger subjects. Their dietary intake was assessed by a quantified food frequency questionnaire. Fourteen of the subjects received 300 mmol Mg to study the effect on Mg status.

Results: With the exception of vitamin D in women, average energy and nutrient intakes were adequate. All subjects had serum Mg levels within the reference value of the laboratory. Basal urinary Mg excretion was 3.3 +/- 1.1 mmol/day and 24-hour Mg retention after a Mg load was 28 +/- 16% compared to 6 +/- 11% in younger controls, suggesting Mg deficiency in the elderly. In the 14 subjects who received oral Mg supplementation there was a statistically significant increase in basal urinary Mg excretion and creatinine clearance, and decreases in Mg retention, serum Mg and serum creatinine.

Conclusions: This study suggests that a significant subclinical Mg deficit, not detected by serum Mg, was present in many of these healthy elderly subjects. Mg supplementation improved Mg status and renal function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Reference Values


  • Magnesium