Colon Cancer Incidence Reduced by Magnesium Rich Foods?

Medical study finds an inverse link between magnesium intake and colon cancerYet more studies have provided evidence that magnesium rich foods may reduce the risks of colon cancer. No surprises here, though more work needs to be done in this area.

The Journal of Nutrition published a study by doctors at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan involving 40,000 men and 46,000 women, an reassuringly large sample for testing.
The 40,830 men and 46,287 women were followed up for 8 years. This study did not include an analysis of supplement use among participants. It focused strictly on magnesium intake from foods and dietary sources.

The study showed that higher intake of dietary magnesium was strongly associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer (colon cancer) in men. The study, however, showed no such correlation among the women. Investigators speculate that this discrepancy between the genders may be partly due to differences in alcohol consumption. Japanese men consume nearly four times as much alcohol as women, and that magnesium may counteract the oxidate stress of alcohol.

The investigators acknowledge that beneficial associations between magnesium intake and CRC risk may include the influence of other nutrients from foods, as participants with higher intakes of magnesium also tended to consume higher intakes of foods rich in calcium, zinc, fiber, folate, B-6 and vitamin D. Researchers conclude by stating “Increased intake of magnesium-rich foods is recommended if other studies, including randomized control trials, confirm our findings.”

The findings show a strong 52% reduction in colon cancer among men whose daily intake of magnesium was 327mg or greater, as opposed to the group whose intake was 238mg or less.

This was the latest of several studies suggesting a link between insufficient magnesium intake and colon cancer, including a Swedish study that showed magnesium reducing the chances of colon cancer in women. This study included supplements, and readers should note that Swedish women and Japanese women have very different genetic predispositions and diets.

Two things that are worth repeating here…

One is that increased consumption of magnesium  rich foods almost guarantees that you will be getting more of all kinds of good nutrition. Again, foods that are high in magnesium tend to be very healthy and nutritious foods to begin with. So, by targeting more magnesium in your diet, you are in fact improving your diet in countless ways that you do not even know of.

The second point is the relation between alcohol and magnesium. While not mentioned by the doctors in the study above, alcohol consumption is know to decrease the magnesium levels in your cells. Obviously, eating A Japanese man who drank too much, a common sight at train stations in the eveninga magnesium rich diet would help to counteract this. This may have also played a role in the Japanese study, as Japanese men do tend to drink much more than Japanese women (though many Japanese women are surprisingly strong drinkers as well).

Keep this in mind if you drink more than you should, and at least try to balance it out with a healthy diet of foods high in magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency – The Signs

Magnesium deficiency keeing you awake?

Magnesium deficiency keeing you awake?

Magnesium Deficiency – What are the Signs?

A magnesium deficiency is very hard to detect without a visit to the doctor for an actual test of your blood levels. However, there are some factors in your life that may suggest deficiency in magnesium that are worth looking at first. These factors fall into two categories:

1- Symptoms of magnesium deficiency
2- Things you are doing or drinking that leach magnesium from your body

Let’s look at the symptoms first, varied as they are:

Tiredness and insomnia (funny how there go hand in hand) are the earliest signs of a deficiency. You are restless at night, and may wake up frequently. During the day, you’re just tired. Any reason for this? It could be stress, yet stress itself is know to use up the body’s magnesium.

Nausea and vomiting, with loss of appetite
Another early sign.

Later stage signs of numbness, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat and coronary spasms-
These are scarier. Nothing like laying awake at night with insomnia, and feeling your heart struggle. It certainly was enough for me to start looking at sources of magnesium in food.


These are frequently reported, and I have personally heard from people who have stopped chronic headaches that they have suffered for as long as 2 years by simply upping their consumption of foods high in magnesium. Others have supplemented the foods with magnesium “oil,” a topical application.

There are numerous other signs that cover just about everything you can imagine, including depression (insufficient magnesium lowers the body’s production of the neurochemical serotonin), mood swings, jumpiness and more.

Remember, even before you consult with a doctor, there is no harm in increasing your natural intake of magnesium. It is only with supplements that you need to be careful of dosage.

Now…take the symptoms above and consider what you are doing to your body that might be draining you of magnesium.

Stress, both mental and physical, excess coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol and sweetened sodas all have an effect. So does tobacco and excess sweating. Various medications are also know to deplete the magnesium in your body.

Moreover, there’s the big issue of excess calcium. Yes, it’s possible to take in too much calcium, which ironically has the effect of making your bones weaker. Excess calcium depletes your magnesium. Osteoporosis and fragile bones can actually be caused by calcium rather than prevented.

On the other hand, too much magnesium is simply not possible when you source it naturally from food.

If you can identify with some of the signs above, it’s a very good idea to start increasing your magnesium intake immediately. Follow the links above to see what foods you need, and get ahead of any magnesium deficiency that may be dragging you down in every area of your life and health.

The list below is extracted from Dr. C. Dean’s book, and list some of the conditions that have been shown to be linked with magnesium deficiencies.

Magnesium deficiency triggers or causes the following conditions:
• Anxiety and Panic attacks- Magnesium (Mg) normally keeps adrenal stress hormones under control.
• Asthma- Both histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with Mg deficiency.
• Blood clots- Mg has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin-much like aspirin
but without the side effects.
• Bowel disease- Mg deficiency slows down the bowel causing constipation, which could lead to toxicity and
malabsorption of nutrients, as well as colitis.
• Cystitis- Bladder spasms are worsened by Mg deficiency.
• Depression-Serotonin, which elevates moods, is dependent on Mg. A Mg-deficient brain is also more susceptible to
allergens, foreign substances that can cause symptoms similar to mental illness.
• Detoxification- Mg is crucial for the removal of toxic substances and heavy metals such as aluminum and lead.
• Diabetes- Mg enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without Mg insulin is not able to transfer
glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood causing various types of tissue damage.
• Fatigue- Mg-deficient patients commonly experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme systems are under-functioning.
An early symptom of Mg deficiency is frequently fatigue.
• Heart disease- Mg deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Mg is administered in hospitals for acute
myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart muscle requires Mg. Mg is also used to
treat angina, or chest pain.
• Hypertension- With insufficient Mg, spasm of blood vessels and high cholesterol occur, both of which lead to blood
pressure problems.
• Hypoglycemia- Mg keeps insulin under control; without Mg episodes of low blood sugar can result.
• Insomnia- Sleep-regulating melatonin production is disturbed without sufficient Mg.
• Kidney Disease- Mg deficiency contributes to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Mg deficiency creates abnormal lipid
levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.
• Liver Disease leading to liver failure- Mg deficiency commonly occurs during liver transplantation.
• Migraine- Serotonin balance is Mg-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and
• Musculoskeletal conditions- Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps and chronic neck and back
pain may be caused by Mg deficiency and can be relieved with Mg supplements.
• Nerve problems- Mg alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the whole body, such as migraines, muscle
contractions, gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot and toe cramps. It is also used in treating central nervous symptoms
of vertigo and confusion.
• Obstetrics and Gynecology- Mg prevents Premenstrual Syndrome; prevents dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during
menses); is important in the treatment of infertility; and alleviates premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia
in pregnancy. Intravenous Mg is given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced hypertension and to lessen the risk of
cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Mg should be a required supplement for pregnant mothers.
• Osteoporosis- Use of calcium with Vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption without a balancing amount of Mg causes
further Mg deficiency, which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.
• Raynaud’s Syndrome- Mg helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of the fingers.
• Tooth decay- Mg deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.

Material excerpted from Dean, Carolyn. The Miracle of Magnesium (2003 Ballantine Books: New York, NY), 2003. pp. 5-7

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