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More than half of the magnesium found in the body is located in bone. In addition to its presence in bone, magnesium is important in calcium metabolism and bone health because it is required for parathyroid hormone secretion. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is integral to bone health because it increases the production of the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) and plays a role in the tubular reabsorption of calcium and phosphorus.

Although magnesium deficiency is associated with abnormalities in vitamin D metabolism, hypocalce-mia, and impaired PTH secretion, epidemiological studies linking magnesium intakes to measures of skeletal health have produced conflicting results. Some studies report significant associations between dietary magnesium intake and bone mineral density, but others have not supported this finding. Relationships between magnesium status and bone mass may be more challenging to elucidate due to the lack of a highly sensitive indicator of magnesium status.

Studies have indicated that typical magnesium intakes in healthy adolescents may not be sufficient to maintain magnesium balance. Data on the impact of magnesium supplementation on bone mass remain controversial. While some studies have found magnesium supplementation to result in positive effects on bone mass, others have reported no significant benefit. Additional studies are needed to clarify these discrepancies and to assess the net effect of magnesium status and supplementation on bone metabolism. Because dietary intakes fall below recommended levels in several age groups and because of the known relationships between magnesium and hormones integral to bone health, increased attention should be focused on optimal magnesium intakes in relation to bone homeostasis.

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