Higher magnesium intake may lower risk of colon cancer

August 13, 2012

Meta-analysis: Increasing your daily dietary intake of magnesium may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

A meta-analysis was jointly conducted by Imperial College London and Wageningen University, Netherlands on 3 case-control studies on colorectal adenomas and 6 prospective cohort studies on carcinomas. The results showed that increasing daily intake of magnesium may reduce risk of colorectal cancer by 12% for every 100 milligrams taken, and risk of colorectal adenomas (pre-cancerous lesions) by 13%. However, the researchers point out that the effects found by this study were only true for people who were overweight (with BMI ? 25) or aged 55 and over, and the results only apply to advanced adenomas. These findings may be related to the effects of magnesium on insulin resistance and responses, which are thought to play a role in the development of tumors. The authors concluded: “Our findings support the hypothesis that higher intakes of dietary magnesium are associated with lower risk of colorectal tumors. The consumption of magnesium-rich foods may be a new avenue to explore further in the search for cancer-prevention strategies.”

Good dietary sources of magnesium are green, leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains, nuts and milk.


  1. Wark P.A. et al. Magnesium intake and colorectal tumor risk: a case-control study and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (August 2012), doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.030924