Whenever parents think of bone health of their child, the first thing that comes to their mind is calcium. It looks like magnesium too has an equally important role in building strong bones in children, as per the findings of a recent study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting.
Magnesium, half of which is present in the bones, is a very essential mineral to maintain muscle, nerve and vital metabolic functions of the body. Importance of magnesium in preventing bone loss and osteoporosis has been well established in many previous researches. However, very few studies have analyzed the impact of magnesium intake and absorption on bone health.
AdvertisementSteven A. Abrams MD, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and his team conducted their research on 63 healthy children in the age group of 4-8 years and who were not taking any mineral or vitamin supplements.
The mineral content in food and beverages that the children consumed were predetermined. The actual calcium and magnesium intake of the children were measured by weighing the food before and after the meals. This observation was done for four days.
Non-radioactive form of magnesium and calcium isotopes were given to measure the minerals absorbed, while bone mineral content and density were measured using total body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Researchers found that the bone mineral content was related to the amount of magnesium consumed, while dietary calcium intake was not significantly related to bone mineral content or bone density.
Thus, authors conclude that it is advisable for children to have a balanced diet with recommended amounts of essential minerals including both calcium and magnesium.
The daily magnesium requirement for children is as below-
1 - 3 years old: 80 milligrams
4 - 8 years old: 130 milligrams
9 - 13 years old: 240 milligrams
14 - 18 years old (boys): 410 milligrams
14 - 18 years old (girls): 360 milligrams
Food rich in magnesium include nuts like almonds and cashews, legumes, soy products and whole grains.