Magnesium retention in 12 to 48 month-old children

Ian J. Griffin, Mary Frances Lynch, Keli M. Hawthorne, Zhensheng Chen, Maria Hamzo, Steven A. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: In adults, adaptation to changes in magnesium intake is largely due to changes in fractional magnesium absorption and urinary magnesium excretion. We sought to examine whether these homeostatic mechanism also occurred in young children. Methods: Children, 12-48m old were studied (n=30). They were adapted to a home diet representative of their usual magnesium intake for 7d then admitted for a stable isotope study. Children received 5mg Mg-25 intravenously, and 10mg Mg-26 orally (5mg with breakfast and 5mg with lunch). Magnesium absorption was calculated from the relative fractional excretion of the oral and intravenous isotopes in the urine samples. Endogenous fecal magnesium absorption was calculated in a subgroup from the fecal and urinary excretion of the intravenous tracer. Results: Magnesium intake (mean ± SD; 106 ± 25mg/d) was significantly greater than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) described by the Institute of Medicine in the US (65 mg/d, p < 0.0001). Across the range of intake studied, fractional magnesium absorption was significantly (P = 0.0383) but weakly (r2 = 0.144) related to magnesium intake. Absolute magnesium absorption (the product of fractional absorption and intake) significantly increased as intake increased (r2 = 0.566, P < 0.0001). Urinary magnesium excretion was unrelated to magnesium intake (r2 = 0.036, P = 0.31). Endogenous fecal magnesium excretion tended to increase as magnesium intake increased (r2 = 0.312, P = 0.12). Magnesium retention (absolute absorption minus urinary and fecal losses) was positive in 26 of the 30 subjects studied, and was linearly related to magnesium intake (r2 = 0.157, P = 0.0304). A magnesium intake of 52-78 mg/d would appear to be required to meet the needs for absorbed magnesium for half the children at this age range, suggesting that the current EAR is broadly appropriate. Conclusions: In young children, consuming magnesium intakes typical of the US population, fractional magnesium absorption is a major site of magnesium homeostasis, but magnesium retention increased linearly across the intake range studied. Our results support at EAR for magnesium of 55-80 mg/d and an RDA of 70-100 mg/d.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-355
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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