Magnesium Affects Prostate Cancer Risk

June 3, 2011 | Leigh MacMillan

Several studies suggest that calcium intake or higher blood calcium increases prostate cancer risk; however, others do not agree. Magnesium plays an important role in counteracting the effect of calcium, including effects on cell proliferation and inflammation.

Qi Dai, M.D., Ph.D., Jay Fowke, Ph.D., and colleagues investigated the importance of serum magnesium and calcium levels on prostate cancer risk in the Nashville Men’s Health Study. They found that serum magnesium levels were significantly lower – and that the ratio of calcium to magnesium was significantly higher – among men with high-grade (more aggressive) prostate cancer compared to men without prostate cancer. Serum calcium levels alone were not significantly associated with high- or low-grade prostate cancer or prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. The researchers also report a possible racial difference in the calcium-magnesium ratio.

The findings reported in PLoS ONE suggest that magnesium affects prostate cancer risk, perhaps through its interactions with calcium, and may provide new opportunities for personalized prevention of prostate cancer.

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