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Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status

Dec. 19, 2018, 8:32 AM

A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

The study reported in the December issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is important because of controversial findings from ongoing research into the association of vitamin D levels with colorectal cancer and other diseases, including a recent report from the VITAL trial. It gave confirmation to a prior observational study in 2013 by the researchers that linked low magnesium levels with low vitamin D levels.

The trial also revealed something new — that magnesium had a regulating effect in people with high vitamin D levels. The research provides the first evidence that magnesium may play an important role in optimizing vitamin D levels and preventing conditions related to vitamin D levels.

Qi Dai, MD, PhD, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, the study’s lead author, described the ideal level as being in the middle range of a U-shape because vitamin D at this level has been linked to the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease in previous observational studies.

However, vitamin D was not related to cardiovascular disease in the recent VITAL trial. He and Martha Shrubsole, PhD, research professor of Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, are investigating the role that magnesium may play with cancer as part of the Personalized Prevention of Colorectal Cancer Trial.

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