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
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.
Steven 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
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
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
14 - 18 years old (girls): 360
Food rich in magnesium include nuts like almonds and
cashews, legumes, soy products and whole grains.