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Magnesium—A Potential Key Player in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases?

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Georgiana-Emmanuela Gilca-Blanariu, Anca Trifan, Manuela Ciocoiu, Iolanda Valentina Popa, Alexandru Burlacu, Gheorghe G Balan, Andrei Vasile Olteanu, Gabriela Stefanescu

Published in May 2022, Nutrients.


The altered magnesium status in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients may have a significant clinical imprint considering its role in cell signaling and genomic stability, as well as its involvement in IBD patients’ fatigue. Our study pioneers the investigation of magnesium hair concentration patterns in an adult population of IBD patients. The hair magnesium concentration in IBD patients is compared to healthy controls in order to identify correlations between the magnesium status and relevant parameters related to disease activity, psychological status, and sleep quality.

We report a significantly lower hair magnesium concentration within the IBD group compared to healthy controls (95%CI: 0.006–0.062; p = 0.017) and lower levels in CD compared to UC (95%CI: −0.061–−0.002; p = 0.038). We identified a borderline statistical significance between the hair magnesium concentration and UC disease activity (95%CI; −0.679–0.008; p = 0.055) and a significantly lower magnesium concentration in patients who reported increased sleep latency (95%CI −0.65–−0.102; p = 0.011) or decreased sleep duration (95%CI −0.613–−0.041; p = 0.028). Our results advance several hypotheses with substantial clinical impact to be confirmed in future studies. Magnesium levels appear to be modified in IBD patients, which suggests it either plays a primary role in disease pathophysiology or a is result of the disease’s evolution.

Magnesium could be used in predictive models for clinical/subclinical disease activity. Moreover, magnesium supplementation may improve IBD evolution and sleep quality for patients with a deficit of this mineral. However, confirmatory evidence-based studies are needed to generate specific dosing, time of supplementation, and optimum monitoring of magnesium status in IBD patients.


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