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Magnesium has been noted to have a role in the immune responses that arise due to the presence of infectious organisms. It has been noted that magnesium along with other nutrients improves and also regulates the functioning of the immune system.
The specific role of this micronutrient in the immune function is being extensively investigated in the recent decades. Several studies on animals have revealed the importance of magnesium in the proper functioning of the immune system. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), USA reports that magnesium helps in the normal functioning of the muscles and nerves, stabilizes the heart rate and supports the immune system.

Inflammatory Responses

Several disorders of the immune system have been attributed to abnormal initiation of inflammation in the cells in different organs. Animal studies have reported that a deficiency of magnesium can induce such inflammatory responses resulting in an accumulation of proteins that initiate inflammatory changes in the cells. The deficiency of magnesium has been noted to initiate inflammatory changes leading to disorders such as atherosclerosis.

Activation of Macrophages, Neutrophils and Other Cells

Deficiency of magnesium was associated with an abnormal activation of cells involved in non-specific immunity. This was attributed to the increase in the levels of free radicals occurring as a result of magnesium deficiency. Animals fed on a diet deficient in magnesium were noted to have higher number of immune cells such as macrophages, neutrophils and endothelial cells. Increased activity of these cells can lead to abnormal activity of the immune system, wherein the healthy cells may be affected resulting in different disorders.


Magnesium Benefits in Skin Allergies

The proliferation of the immune cells as a result of magnesium deficiency was noted to increase the incidence of skin allergy in a study conducted in Russia. The study also reported that administration of magnesium supplements to individuals suffering from allergic skin disorders notably reduced the symptoms. The benefit was noted both with oral supplements and local application of magnesium salts.

Magnesium Linked to Aging and Diseases

The decrease in the intake of magnesium increases the effects of aging on the body and also increases the risk of acquiring infections. Magnesium as an antioxidant helps in the reduction of free radicals thereby decreasing the damage done to the body cells by the free radicals. Further it boosts the immune system and also regulates the immune responses thereby reducing the risk of infections and inflammatory disorders. Thereby, supplementation of magnesium along with other vitamins; minerals and micronutrients may be beneficial in reducing the effects of aging while stabilizing the immune system.

Magnesium and Asthma

Asthma is one of the disorders associated with hyper-functioning of the immune system wherein inflammatory responses are abnormally high. Administration of magnesium was noted to have multiple benefits in individuals suffering from asthma. Apart from its actions on the muscles wherein it stabilizes the muscle action, magnesium was also noted to have an effect on the hyperactive immune system. Magnesium decreases the release of chemicals that initiate the inflammatory reactions in the lung tissues and cells thereby reducing the symptoms of asthma.

  • 1. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Magnesium. [updated: Jul 2009, accessed: Sep 2009]. Available from: http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
  • 2. Maier JAM, Malpuec-Brugère C, Rock E, Rayssiguier Y & Mazur A. Serum from magnesium-deficient rats affects endothelial cells in culture: role of hyperlipemia and inflammation. J. Nutr. Biochem. 1997, 9:17–22
  • 3. Malpuech-Brugère C, Nowacki W, Daveau M, Gueux E, Linard Ch, Rock E, Lebreton JP, Mazur A & Rayssiguier Y. Inflammatory response following acute magnesium deficiency in the rat. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 2000, 1501:91–98
  • 4. Błach J, Nowacki W, Mazur A. Magnesium in skin allergy. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2007 Oct 8, 61:548-54
  • 5. McCoy H & Kenney MA. Interactions between magnesium and vitamin D: possible implications in the immune system. Magnesium Res. 1996, 9:185–203
  • 6. Monteleone CA & Sherman AR. Nutrition and asthma. Arch. Int. Med. 1997, 157:23–34.

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