Effect of magnesium supplementation on endothelial function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

  • Manije Darooghegi Mofrad
    Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran

    Students' Scientific Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
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  • Kurosh Djafarian
    Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
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  • Hadis Mozaffari
    Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
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  • Sakineh Shab-Bidar
    Corresponding author. Department of Community Nutrition School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, P. O. Box 14155/6117, Tehran, Iran.
    Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
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      • We examined the effects of magnesium supplementation on flow-mediated dilation and carotid intima media thickness.
      • Magnesium supplementation increased flow-mediated dilation in adult subjects.
      • Magnesium supplementation decreased carotid intima media thickness.
      • Mg dose, duration of treatment, healthy status, baseline CIMT and sample size were the potential sources of heterogeneity.


      Background and aims

      Findings of past studies are inconsistent regarding the effects of magnesium (Mg) supplementation on endothelial function (EF). We performed this meta-analysis to examine the effects of magnesium supplementation on flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) as markers of EF.


      Literature searches of English publications in MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were conducted up to November 2017. Results are reported as weighted mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using random effects model (DerSimonian–Laird method). Cochrane's Q test and I-squared (I2) were used to determine heterogeneity among included studies. To determine potential sources of heterogeneity, subgroup analysis was conducted for pre-defined criteria. Funnel plot and Egger's regression test were used to assess publication bias.


      Seven RCTs with 306 participants were included. Mg supplementation significantly increased FMD (MD: 2.97; 95% CI: 0.23 to 5.70%, p = 0.033). Between studies heterogeneity was high and subgroup analysis could not identify the sources of heterogeneity. Magnesium supplementation had no significant effect on CIMT (MD: −0.13 mm; 95% CI: 0.27, 0.01; p = 0.077) with high heterogeneity. Mg dose, duration of treatment, healthy status, baseline CIMT and sample size were the potential sources of heterogeneity. Mg supplementation could decrease CIMT to a greater extent in hemodialysis (HD) patients; lower doses of Mg, higher sample size and follow up duration and subjects with higher baseline CIMT also reduced the heterogeneity to some degree (p < 0.001).


      Magnesium supplementation may improve endothelial function without affecting carotid intima media thickness.


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