Healthy Beginnings

Magnesium Supplementation to Prevent Cancer?

Scientists recognize magnesium mostly as it relates to protection against cardiovascular disorders.

Higher magnesium intake is associated with reduced risks of sudden cardiac death, stroke, type II diabetes, asthma, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Very few publications are discussing findings showing cancer risk reductions in those who ingest higher amounts of magnesium.

Magnesium is not manufactured inside plants like the disease fighting polyphenols. It turns out that the quantity of dietary magnesium is largely dictated by the amount of magnesium in the soil the food is grown in, or the mineral content of the water one drinks.

In a landmark human study, there were marked reductions in pancreatic cancer risk in those who consumed higher amounts of magnesium found in supplements.

In fact, it has been found that there is a 76 percent risk increase in pancreatic cancer incidence in people who are deficient in magnesium.

Researchers found that pancreatic cancer risk increased by 24 percent for every 100mg decrease in magnesium intake below the recommended daily allowance (RDA). For example, an individual with a daily magnesium intake of 200mg has a 24 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to a person who ingests 300mg a day!

This study, published in 2015, evaluated data from 66,000 men and women ages 50-76 who were followed for an 8-year period. Optimal intake was defined as taking greater or equal to 100 percent of the government RDA for magnesium. This amount was 420mg/day for males and 320mg/day for females.

Those who took 75 to 99 percent of the RDA had a 42 percent greater risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those taking 100 percent or greater.

The people who took less than 75 percent of the RDA had a striking 76 percent greater risk compared to those whose intake was equal to or greater than the RDA.

When analyzing those who met or exceeded the RDA for magnesium intake, only those who took dietary supplements containing magnesium were able to consistently achieve the benefits.

This led the authors to state that to gain the benefit of magnesium at least at the level of the RDA, “dietary magnesium intake alone may not be sufficient.”

What is equally exciting is a large study evaluating Japanese men found that those with the highest dietary intake of magnesium were over 50 percent less likely to develop colon cancer!

Magnesium plays essential roles in regulating cell signaling, insulin sensitivity, systemic inflammation, and DNA maintenance and repair. It is therefore not surprising that low intake of magnesium is associated with increased risk of certain cancers.

For more information, contact Reno Integrative Medical Center, 6110 Plumas St., Ste. B, Reno, NV 89519, at 775-829-1009 or

By Robert A. Eslinger, D.O., H.M.D.


Dibaba D, Xun P, Yokota K, et al, Magnesium intake and incidence of pancreatic cancer: the Vitamins and Lifestyle study, Br J Cancer 2015;113(11):1615-21

Ma J, Sasazuki S, Inoue M, et al, High dietary intake of magnesium may decrease risk of colorectal cancer in Japanese men, J Nutr. 2010; 140(4):779-85