Magnesium and Antioxidants in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Magnesium Status and Parameters of the Oxidant-Antioxidant Balance in Patients with Chronic Fatigue: Effects of Supplementation with Magnesium

Begoña Manuel y Keenoy, MD, PhD, Greta Moorkens, MD, Jan Vertommen, Mia Noe, Jean Nève, PhD, and Ivo De Leeuw, MD, PhD, FACN

Laboratory of Endocrinology, University of Antwerp (B.M.K., J.V., I.D.L.), Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital (G.M., M.N., I.D.L.), Antwerp, Institute of Pharmacy, Free University of Brussels (J.N.), BELGIUM []

Objective: Magnesium deficiency and oxidative stress have both been identified as pathogenic factors in aging and in several age-related diseases. The link between these two factors is unclear in humans although, in experimental animals, severe Mg deficiency has been shown to lead to increased oxidative stress.

Methods: The relationship between Mg body stores, dietary intakes and supplements on the one hand and parameters of the oxidant-antioxidant balance on the other was investigated in human subjects.

Results: The study population consisted of 93 patients with unexplained chronic fatigue (median age 38 years, 25% male, 16% smokers and 54% with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Mg deficient patients (47%) had lower total antioxidant capacity in plasma (p=0.007) which was related to serum albumin. Mg deficient patients whose Mg body stores did not improve after oral supplementation with Mg (10 mg/kg/day) had persistently lower blood glutathione levels (p=0.003). In vitro production of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by non-HDL lipoproteins incubated with copper was related to serum cholesterol (p<0.001) but not to Mg or antioxidants and did not improve after Mg supplementation. In contrast, velocity of formation of fluorescent products of peroxidation (slope) correlated with serum vitamin E (p<0.001), which was, in turn, related to Mg dietary intakes. Both slope and serum vitamin E improved after Mg supplementation (p< 0.001).

Conclusions: These results show that the lower antioxidant capacity found in moderate Mg deficiency was not due to a deficit in Mg dietary intakes and was not accompanied by increased lipid susceptibility to in vitro peroxidation. Nevertheless, Mg supplementation was followed by an improvement in Mg body stores, in serum vitamin E and its interrelated stage of lipid peroxidation.

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