Increased magnesium intake might help prevent pancreatic cancer, according to a study from Indiana University in Bloomington. Dietary intakes for 66,806 men and women between the ages of 50- and 76-years-old at the study’s start were compared to subsequent development of pancreatic cancer during the 6.8-year follow-up. Results showed that compared to people who consumed the recommended intake for magnesium, those who did not had an increased risk for pancreatic cancer. For example, there was a 42% increase for people with magnesium intakes in the range of 75-99% of the recommended intake, and a 76% increase for those with intakes less than 75%. The observed inverse relationship was not affected by age, body mass index (BMI), or gender, but was limited to those people who took magnesium supplements. The researchers conclude that, “…magnesium intake may be beneficial in terms of primary prevention of pancreatic cancer.”
In Perspective: A possible reason why supplementation appeared so beneficial in this study is that few Americans meet the recommended intake levels for magnesium from food alone. In fact, it is estimated that three out of four Americans’ diets are low in this essential mineral.
Dibaba D, Xun P, Yokota K, et al: Magnesium intake and incidence of pancreatic cancer. British Journal of Cancer 2015; November 10th.