Magnesium deficiency is reported to be associated with increased risk of chronic diseases including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus; however its prevalence among the general population in our setting has not been well studied. We aimed to determine the prevalence of magnesium deficiency, as measured by plasma magnesium level, and its relationship with body weight status in a group of apparently healthy adult Nigerians. A cross-sectional study involving 120 apparently healthy adults aged 18 years and above. The study subjects were categorized according to BMI into two groups: 48 overweight/obese subjects (BMI ≥ 25kg/m2) and 72 normal weight subjects (BMI < 25kg/m2). Plasma magnesium level was measured and hypomagnesemia was defined as plasma magnesium < 0.75mmol/L. There was 11.7% overall prevalence of hypomagnesemia. The prevalence of hypomagnesemia was greater among overweight/obese compared to normal weight subjects. Plasma magnesium levels were significantly lower in the overweight/obese subjects as compared to the normal weight subjects (0.77 ± 0.05 vs. 0.83 ± 0.11 mmol/L, p <0.05). An inverse association was observed between plasma magnesium levels and degree of obesity as measured by BMI (r = -0.23, p < 0.05). We conclude that magnesium deficiency is relatively common among the study subjects; with obesity being a significant risk factor. We recommend further studies that will determine the clinical significance and health implications of that in our setting. We also recommend large scale study that will establish an evidence-based local reference interval that will allow more accurate assessment of the prevalence of magnesium deficiency among our local population.
The Editor in Chief, Journal of Experimental Research Department of Anatomy, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, College Of Medicine (ESUCOM), GRA Enugu, Nigeria.
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Enugu State University of Science and Technology