A 2018 study found that supplemental magnesium reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a robust marker of inflammation. Improvements in CRP levels were seen regardless of the dose or duration of supplementation.
Researchers analyzed the findings of eight randomized, controlled trials that investigated the effects of supplemental magnesium on CRP.
They found that doses ranged from 320 to 1,500 milligrams per day, and the duration of supplementation ranged from eight hours to just over six months. CRP levels dropped an average of 1.33 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) with magnesium supplementation, especially when CRP levels were 2.0 mg/dl or higher. Because normal CRP levels (seen in most healthy adults) are typically less than 0.3 mg/dL and normal or slightly elevated levels are typically 0.3 to 1.0 mg/dL, this reduction represented a considerable change.
C-reactive protein is a protein that increases up to 1,000-fold at sites of inflammation or infection in response to elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, especially interleukin-6. It can also increase in the blood following a heart attack, surgery, or trauma. High CRP levels are associated with atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and myocarditis, suggesting that CRP participates in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.
Magnesium is an essential mineral. It is found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Poor magnesium status is implicated in several metabolic and inflammatory disorders including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular diseases.
The findings from this meta-analysis suggest that supplemental magnesium reduces inflammation, a driver of many chronic diseases. You can read about other strategies to reduce inflammation in our overview articles on aerobic exercise, sauna use, and cold exposure.
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