In comparison with calcium, magnesium is an “orphan nutrient” that has been studied considerably less heavily. Low magnesium intakes and blood levels have been associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer. Almost half (48%) of the US population consumed less than the required amount of magnesium from food in 2005–2006, and the figure was down from 56% in 2001–2002.
Surveys conducted over 30 years indicate rising calcium-to-magnesium food-intake ratios among adults and the elderly in the United States, excluding intake from supplements, which favor calcium over magnesium. The prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes in the United States increased sharply between 1994 and 2001 as the ratio of calcium-to-magnesium intake from food rose.
Dietary Reference Intakes determined by balance studies may be misleading if subjects have chronic latent magnesium deficiency but are assumed to be healthy. Cellular magnesium deficit elicits calcium-activated inflammatory cascades independent of injury or pathogens. Refining the magnesium requirements and understanding how low magnesium status and rising calcium-to-magnesium ratios influence the incidence of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, and other inflammation-related disorders are research priorities. Nutrition Reviews, March 2012
Hypomagnesemia is relatively common, and most patients are asymptomatic. Causes of hypomagnesemia include inadequate magnesium intake, increased gastrointestinal or renal loss, and drugs such as PPIs and loop diuretics. Patients with symptomatic hypomagnesemia frequently have other electrolyte disturbances that are resistant to treatment until the hypomagnesemia has been reversed. Clinical Endocrinology, December 2011