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Magnesium Supplements May Benefit People With Asthma

Some previous studies have reported associations between low magnesium consumption and the development of asthma. Now, recent research supported by NCCAM and published in the Journal of Asthma provides additional evidence that adults with mild-to-moderate asthma may benefit from taking magnesium supplements.

Researchers from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, and the University of California, Davis, enrolled 52 men and women aged 21 to 55 with mild-to-moderate asthma. The participants consumed either 340 mg of magnesium citrate or placebo daily for 6.5 months. The researchers examined clinical asthma symptoms and control using tests to measure lung responsiveness and pulmonary function, inflammation markers, and magnesium levels at the beginning of the study and every month thereafter.

The researchers found that those who took magnesium experienced significant improvement in lung activity and the ability to move air in and out of their lungs. Those taking magnesium also reported other improvements in asthma control and quality of life compared with people who received placebo. There were no significant changes for objective measures of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (the volume of air that can be exhaled in 1 second after taking a deep breath) or inflammation and magnesium levels in either group.

During the study the researchers indicated that members of both groups had similar levels of magnesium in serum or within red blood cells. Participants in both groups also had similar levels of C‑reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) throughout the study. Airway inflammation is an important component of asthma.

The researchers noted that this study adds to the body of research that shows subjective and objective benefits of magnesium supplements in people with mild-to-moderate asthma.

Publication Date: 
February 1, 2010