The Journal of Nutrition
Nutrition and Disease
High Dietary Intake of Magnesium May
Decrease Risk of Colorectal Cancer in
Enbo Ma, Shizuka Sasazuki,* Manami Inoue, Motoki Iwasaki, Norie Sawada, Ribeka Takachi,
and Shoichiro Tsugane, for the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study Group3
Epidemiology and Prevention Division, Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center,
Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
Magnesium maintains genomic stability and is an essential cofactor for DNA synthesis and repair. Magnesium intake
has been reported to be inversely associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk in Western populations. This study
examined the association between dietary intake of magnesium and CRC risk in Japanese men and women aged 45–
74 y. Data from 40,830 men and 46,287 women, at the 5-y follow-up of the Japan Public Health Center-based
Prospective Study, who responded to a 138-item FFQ were used in this analysis. A total of 689 and 440 CRC events
were observed during the mean follow-up of 7.9 and 8.3 y for men and women, respectively. When adjusted for
potential confounders, the hazard ratio and 95% CI in the highest quintile of magnesium intake compared with the
lowest quintile in men were 0.65 (95% CI, 0.40–1.03) for CRC (P-trend = 0.04), 0.48 (95% CI, 0.26–0.89) for colon
cancer (P-trend = 0.01), and 0.97 (95% CI, 0.47–2.02) for rectal cancer (P-trend = 0.93). Borderline inverse associations
were also observed in men who consumed alcohol regularly (P-trend = 0.07) or had a BMI ,25 kg/m2(P-trend = 0.06).
There were similar inverse associations for invasive colon cancer and distal colon cancer. There were no significant
associations between magnesium intake and cancer risk in women. Higher dietary intake of magnesium may decrease
the risk of CRC in Japanese men.J. Nutr. 140: 779–785, 2010.
Magnesium maintains genomic stability and is an essential
cofactor in almost all enzymatic systems involved in DNA
synthesis and repair (1). Magnesium deficiency may increase
membrane dysfunctions and susceptibility toward oxidative
stress (1). Studies on supplemental magnesium in animals have
demonstrated a reduced incidence of induced colon tumors by
means of inhibition of oncogene expression in colon cancer cell
1Supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas
(17015049) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and
Technology of Japan.
2Author disclosures: E. Ma, S. Sasazuki, M. Inoue, M. Iwasaki, N. Sawada, R.
Takachi, and S. Tsugane, no conflicts of interest.
3Members of the JPHC Study Group (principal investigator: S. Tsugane): S.
Tsugane, M. Inoue, T. Sobue, and T. Hanaoka, Research Center for Cancer
Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center, Tokyo; J. Ogata, S. Baba, T.
Mannami, A. Okayama, and Y. Kokubo, National Cardiovascular Center, Suita; K.
Miyakawa, F. Saito, A. Koizumi, Y. Sano, I. Hashimoto, T. Ikuta, and Y. Tanaba,
Iwate Prefectural Ninohe Public Health Center, Ninohe; Y. Miyajima, N. Suzuki,
S. Nagasawa, Y. Furusugi, and N. Nagai, Akita Prefectural Yokote Public Health
Center, Yokote; H. Sanada, Y. Hatayama, F. Kobayashi, H. Uchino, Y. Shirai, T.
Kondo, R. Sasaki, Y. Watanabe, Y. Miyagawa, Y. Kobayashi, and M. Machida,
Nagano Prefectural Saku Public Health Center, Saku; Y. Kishimoto, E. Takara, T.
Fukuyama, M. Kinjo, M. Irei, and H. Sakiyama, Okinawa Prefectural Chubu
Public Health Center, Okinawa; K. Imoto, H. Yazawa, T. Seo, A. Seiko, F. Ito, F.
Shoji, and R. Saito, Katsushika Public Health Center, Tokyo; A. Murata, K.
Minato, K. Motegi and T. Fujieda, Ibaraki Prefectural Mito Public Health Center,
Mito; T. Abe, M. Katagiri, M. Suzuki, and K. Matsui, Niigata Prefectural
Kashiwazaki and Nagaoka Public Health Center, Kashiwazaki and Nagaoka; M.
Doi, A. Terao, Y. Ishikawa, and T. Tagami, Kochi Prefectural Chuo-higashi Public
Health Center, Tosayamada; H. Doi, M. Urata, N. Okamoto, F. Ide, and H. Sueta,
Nagasaki Prefectural Kamigoto Public Health Center, Arikawa; H. Sakiyama, N.
Onga, H. Takaesu, and M. Uehara, Okinawa Prefectural Miyako Public Health
Center, Hirara; F. Horii, I. Asano, H. Yamaguchi, K. Aoki, S. Maruyama, M. Ichii,
and M. Takano, Osaka Prefectural Suita Public Health Center, Suita; S.
Matsushima and S. Natsukawa, Saku General Hospital, Usuda; M. Akabane,
Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo; M. Konishi, K. Okada, and I. Saito, Ehime
University, Toon; H. Iso, Osaka University, Suita; Y. Honda, K. Yamagishi, S.
Sakurai, and N. Tsuchiya, Tsukuba University, Tsukuba; H. Sugimura,
Hamamatsu University, Hamamatsu; Y. Tsubono, Tohoku University, Sendai;
M. Kabuto, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba; S. Tominaga,
Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, Nagoya; M. Iida, W. Ajiki, and A. Ioka,
Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease, Osaka; S. Sato,
Osaka Medical Center for Health Science and Promotion, Osaka; N. Yasuda,
Kochi University, Nankoku; K. Nakamura, Niigata University, Niigata; S. Kono,
Kyushu University, Fukuoka; K. Suzuki, Research Institute for Brain and Blood
Vessels Akita, Akita; Y. Takashima and M. Yoshida, Kyorin University, Mitaka; E.
Maruyama, Kobe University, Kobe; M. Yamaguchi, Y. Matsumura, S. Sasaki, and
S. Watanabe, National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Tokyo; T. Kadowaki,
Tokyo University, Tokyo; M. Noda and T. Mizoue, International Medical Center of
Japan, Tokyo; Y. Kawaguchi,Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo; and H.
Shimizu, Sakihae Institute, Gifu.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: email@example.com.
0022-3166/08 $8.00 ã 2010 American Society for Nutrition.
Manuscript received October 21, 2009. Initial review completed November 17, 2009. Revision accepted January 7, 2010.
First published online February 17, 2010; doi:10.3945/jn.109.117747.
S.T, S.S., and M.I. designed the research; E.M., S.S., M.I., R.T.,
and N.S. analyzed data; and E.M. and S.S. wrote the paper. All
authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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