WEDNESDAY, Sept. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Having magnesium levels that are too high or too low may put you at risk for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Dutch researchers report.
In a study of more than 9,500 men and women, the highest or lowest levels of magnesium appeared to increase the chances for dementia by as much as 30 percent.
“At this moment, magnesium levels are not routinely measured in daily clinical practice,” said lead researcher Dr. Brenda Kieboom, of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. “If our study results are replicated, magnesium levels could be used to screen for dementia, especially in people at risk for low magnesium levels.”
But she cautioned that “we cannot prove that low or high magnesium causes dementia on the basis of our data. For that, we need studies to see if supplements will reduce the risk.”
Kieboom said she also wants to study whether low magnesium levels also associate with a decline in mental function over time.
“Mental function can be seen as a precursor stage of dementia, and if we find similar associations with dementia this will support our theory for a causal association,” she said.
“We already found that proton pump inhibitors [acid reflux drugs such as Nexium and Prilosec] are associated with a higher risk for abnormally low magnesium levels, but we continue looking into other drugs,” she said.
Those at risk for low levels of magnesium include people who use proton pump inhibitors or diuretics, or people who have a diet low in magnesium, Kieboom said.
Foods that are good sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds, cashews, soy and black beans, whole grains, yogurt and avocados, she said.