OSLO, NorwayEating a diet high in magnesium-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds, may protect against hip fractures, according to a new study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and published in the Bone Journal.
Hip fractures are a major public health problem, and Norway has one of the highest levels in the world. Many risk factors for the disease are known, such as smoking, height and weight, physical activity and diet, including intake of vitamin D. However, these factors explain only a small part of what we call risk of hip fracture.
For the study, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health examined whether there was a correlation between magnesium and calcium concentrations in drinking water and the incidence of hip fracture. The researchers studied variations in magnesium and calcium levels in drinking water between different areas, as these are assumed to have a role in the development of bone strength.
The project is unique for two reasons: researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health created a registry of all hip fractures in Norway and a map showing the coverage of the various water utility companies in Norway. This made it possible to determine which water utility company is most likely to supply each area in Norway.
The researchers compiled data from three sourcesan earlier project on drinking water in Norway (Trace Metals Project), the National Population Register with inhabitants in Norway from 1994 until 2000, and the register of hip fractures in Norway. Data sources were linked together to create a compilation of fractures in areas with the highest and lowest areas of calcium and magnesium. They followed approximately 700,000 men and women over seven years and registered about 5,500 hip fractures among men and 13,600 hip fractures for women in this period.
Results show that magnesium protects against hip fracture for both men and women. They found no independent protective effect of calcium.
A 2012 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found individuals who consume a diet high in magnesium-rich foods may reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 11% compared to those with low dietary magnesium intake. A similar study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found consuming a diet high in magnesium-rich foods reduced the risk of ischemic stroke by 8%.