Magnesium may decrease colon cancer risk

March 15, 2010

Increased intakes of magnesium may reduce a man’s risk of colon cancer by over 50 percent, says a new study.

In the observational study, 87,117 people with an average age of 57 were followed for about eight years (1). Dietary intakes were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. The results showed that men with the highest average intakes of magnesium (at least 327 mg/day) were associated with a 52 percent lower risk of colon, but not rectal, cancer, compared to men who consumed the lowest average intakes. No benefits were observed in women.

Being an epidemiological study, the findings do not prove causality, and additional studies – particularly randomized controlled trials – are needed to confirm the findings, the researchers commented.

Colorectal cancer accounts for nine percent of new cancer cases every year worldwide. The highest incidence rates are in the developed world, while Asia and Africa have the lowest incidence rates.

References

  1. Ma E. et al. High dietary intake of magnesium may decrease risk of colorectal cancer in Japanese men. Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140:779–785.