Correcting magnesium deficiencies may prolong life

Correcting magnesium deficiencies may prolong life | Clin Interv Aging. 2012 | Full Text PubMed PMC article

Oddly enough, this article is in reference to space flight. But it turns out that microgravity exacerbates Magnesium deficiency, and the experiences of space flight demonstrate exactly how important this mineral is for us.

With space flight there are significant reductions of serum Mg (P < 0.0001) that have been shown in large studies of astronauts and cosmonauts.

The loss of the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system with space flight is over ten times faster than the course of aging on Earth.  

Mg is an antioxidant and calcium blocker and in space there is oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and inflammatory conditions with evidence in experimental animals of significant endothelial injuries and damage to mitochondria

The aging process is associated with progressive shortening of telomeres, repetitive DNA sequences, and proteins that cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. Telomerase can elongate pre-existing telomeres to maintain length and chromosome stability.

Low telomerase triggers increased catecholamines while the sensitivity of telomere synthesis to Mg ions is primarily seen for the longer elongation products

Mg stabilizes DNA and promotes DNA replication and transcription, whereas low Mg might accelerate cellular senescence by reducing DNA stability, protein synthesis, and function of mitochondria.

Telomerase, in binding to short DNAs, is Mg dependent.

Before and after a space mission, telomere lengths and telomerase enzyme activity can be determined and compared with age-matched control rats on Earth.

The effect of Mg supplementation, both on maintaining telomere length and extending the life span, can be evaluated. Similar studies in astronauts would be fruitful.  


The reference list for this article lists other research on Magnesium:

  • Nielsen FH. Magnesium, inflammation, and obesity in chronic disease. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(6):333–340. [PubMed]
  • Zekeriya U, Ariogul S, Cankurtaran M, et al. Intra-erythrocyte magnesium levels and their clinical implication in geriatric outpatients. J Nutr Health Aging. 2010;14(10):810–814. [PubMed]
  • Barbagallo M, Belvedere M, Dominguez LJ. Magnesium homeostasis and aging. Magnes Res. 2009;22(4):235–246. [PubMed]
  • Fitts RH, Trappe SW, Costill DL, et al. Prolonged space flight-induced alterations in the structure and function of human skeletal muscle fibres. J Physiol. 2010;588(Pt 18):3567–3592. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rowe WJ. Potential myocardial injuries to normal heart with prolonged space missions: the hypothetical key role of magnesium. Mag Bull. 2000;22:15–19.
  • Rowe WJ. Potential renovascular hypertension, space missions, and the role of magnesium. Int J Nephrol Renovasc Dis. 2009;2:51–57. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rowe WJ. Long space missions, gene therapy, and the vital role of magnesium: a three-pronged plan for the next 50 years. Int J Nephrol Renovasc Dis. 2010;3:123–127. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kumar BP, Shivakumar K, Kartha CC. Magnesium deficiency-related changes in lipid peroxidation and collagen metabolism in vivo in rat heart. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1997;29(1):129–134. [PubMed]
  • Iseri LT, French JH. Magnesium: nature’s physiologic calcium blocker. Am Heart J. 1984;108(1):188–193. [PubMed]
  • Hartwig A. Role of magnesium in genomic stability. Mutat Res. 2001;475(1–2):113–121. [PubMed]
  • Killilea DW, Maier JA. A connection between magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies. Magnes Res. 2008;21(2):77–82. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sahin E, Colla S, Liesa M, et al. Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise. Nature. 2011;470(7334):359–365. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bohl CH, Volpe SL. Magnesium and exercise. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002;42(6):533–563. [PubMed]

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