California Agriculture Online
California Agriculture Home  >   Volume 61   >   Number 3  >   Viewing Expanded Abstract

Peer-reviewed Article

Overweight and obesity are associated with decreased magnesium intake in people with asthma


Alexandra G. Kazaks, UC Davis
Judith S. Stern, UC Davis

publication information

California Agriculture 61(3):119-123. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v061n03p119. July-September 2007.

NALT Keywords

asthma, food intake, magnesium, obesity, overweight


Asthma is a serious health problem that is more prevalent among low-income persons. The risk of asthma and the severity of its symptoms may be increased by the low dietary intake of magnesium and other nutrients that protect against asthma, coupled with the high energy intakes that result in overweight and obesity. This study compared people with asthma to healthy controls, and showed that total body magnesium stores decreased with increasing weight, as measured by body mass index (BMI). Replacing low-magnesium foods with high-magnesium foods may be a practical, low-cost way to help reduce the risk of obesity and low magnesium status in people with asthma, especially in at-risk, low-income groups.

author affiliations

A.G. Kazaks is Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis; J.S. Stern is Distinguished Professor, Department of Nutrition and Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Clinical Nutrition and Vascular Biology, UC Davis.

author notes

We wish to thank Amy Block Joy, Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) program director associated with the UC Davis Department of Nutrition, for her insights into the applications and relevance of our data for low-income populations. This study was funded in part by NIH AT00652, T32 DK 07355 and the FSNE program of California, USDA Food and Nutrition Service.


[ALA] American Lung Association. Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality. Epidemiology and Statistics Unit Research and Scientific Affairs 2005.–8ADE-7F5D5E762256%7D/ASTHMA_TRENDS_IN_MORBID-ITY_MORALITY2003.PDF (accessed May 2007)

Barnes PJ. Mediators of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pharmacol Rev. 2004. 56(4):48. DOI: 10.1124/pr.56.4.2 [CrossRef]

Bernstein WK, Khastgir T, Khastgir A, et al. Lack of effectiveness of magnesium in chronic stable asthma. A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial in normal subjects and in patients with chronic stable asthma. Arch Intern Med. 1995. 155(3):6. DOI: 10.1001/archinte.155.3.271 [CrossRef]

Britton J, Pavord I, Richards K, et al. Dietary magnesium, lung function, wheezing, and airway hyperreactivity in a random adult population sample. Lancet. 1994. 344(8919):62. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(94)91399-4 [CrossRef]

[CDC] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Self-Reported Asthma Prevalence Among Adults — United States, 2000. MMWR 2000. 5032 6.

Chande VT, Skoner DP. A trial of nebulized magnesium sulfate to reverse bronchospasm in asthmatic patients. Ann Emerg Med. 1992. 21(9):5. DOI: 10.1016/S0196-0644(05)80653-5 [CrossRef]

Cheuk DK, Chau TC, Lee SL. A meta-analysis on intravenous magnesium sulphate for treating acute asthma. Arch Dis Child. 2005. 90(1):7. DOI: 10.1136/adc.2004.050005 [CrossRef]

Davis PA, Gold EB, Hackman RM, et al. The use of complementary/alternative medicine for the treatment of asthma in the United States. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 1998. 8(2):7.

Ford ES, Mannino DM, Redd SC, et al. Body mass index and asthma incidence among USA adults. Eur Respir J. 2004. 24(5):4. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.04.00088003 [CrossRef]

Hartert TV, Peebles RS. Dietary antioxidants and adult asthma. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001. 1(5):9. DOI: 10.1097/00130832-200110000-00007, doi:10.1097/01.all.0000011055.59442.37 [CrossRef]

Haury V. Blood serum magnesium in bronchial asthma and its treatment by the administration of magnesium sulphate. J Lab Clin Med. 1940. 26:1.

[IMFNB] Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Nat Acad Pr 1997. Washington, DC: 448 p.

Kazaks A, Uriu-Adams JY, Stern JS, Albertson TE. Multiple measures of magnesium status are comparable in mild asthma and control subjects. J Asthma. 2006. 43(10):8. DOI: 10.1080/02770900601031870 [CrossRef]

King DE, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005. 24(3):71.

Mathew R, Altura BM. The role of magnesium in lung diseases: Asthma, allergy and pulmonary hypertension. Magnes Trace Elem. 1991. 10(2–4):8.

[NHLBI] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. NAEPP Expert Panel Report: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma;. 2002. Update on Selected Topics 2002. (accessed May 2007)

NHLBI. What Is Asthma?. 2006. (accessed May 2007)

Rob PM, Dick K, Bley N, et al. Can one really measure magnesium deficiency using the short-term magnesium loading test?. J Intern Med. 1999. 246(4):8. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1999.00580.x [CrossRef]

Rolia G, Bucca C, Arossa W, Bugiani M. Magnesium attenuates methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction in asthmatics. Magnesium. 1987. 6(4):4.

Shore SA, Fredberg JJ. Obesity, smooth muscle, and airway hyperresponsiveness. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005. 115(5):7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2005.01.064 [CrossRef]

Tam M, Gomez S, Gonzalez-Gross M, Marcos A. Possible roles of magnesium on the immune system. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003. 57(10):7. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601689 [CrossRef]

[USDA] US Department of Agriculture. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19. Nutrient Data Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service 2006. (accessed May 2007)