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Magnesium and Aging

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Over the past decades, the clinical relevance and biological significance of magnesium (Mg) have been documented. Deficiency in Mg, aside from having a negative impact on the energy production pathway required by mitochondria to generate ATP, also reduces the threshold antioxidant capacity of the aging organism and its resistance to free-radical damage. Mg also acts as an antioxidant against free radical damage of the mitochondria. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress have both been identified as pathogenic factors in aging and in several age-related diseases. Chronic Mg deficiency results in excessive production of oxygen-derived free radicals and low grade inflammation. Aging is very often associated with Mg inadequacy and with increased incidence of many chronic diseases, muscle loss and sarcopenia, altered immune responses, and vascular and metabolic conditions, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and the cardiometabolic syndrome.

The most common cause of Mg deficit in the elderly population is dietary Mg deficiency, although secondary Mg deficit in aging may also results from many different mechanisms.

The aim of the present manuscript is to discuss the mechanisms and consequences of the modifications of Mg metabolism with age, the difficulties in the measurement of Mg status, and to review the current evidences suggesting that age-related chronic Mg deficits may be proposed as one of the physiopathological links that may help to explain the interactions between inflammation, and oxidative stress with the aging process and many age-related diseases.
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Keywords: Magnesium; Mg deficiency; aging; anti-aging; chronic inflammation; diabetes; hypertension; oxidative stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Viale F. Scaduto 6/c, 90144 Palermo, Italy.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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