Research Review By Dr. Jen, NEEDS Education Director
Magnesium supplementation is a common recommendation for
people with asthma because it helps decrease inflammation and
acts as a bronchodilator, relaxing the airways and allowing for better
airflow. To test this theory, researchers recently conducted a small
clinical trial with 55 volunteers with mild-to-moderate asthma.
Half the group took 340 mg of magnesium, and the other half took
placebo, both in conjunction with their medication, for 6.5 months.
The group taking magnesium experienced a six percent improvement
in lung function by the end of the study, measured by peak oxygen
flow rate on exhalation. The placebo group did not experience a
change in flow rate.
Another test in this study, which was published in the February
2010 edition of the Journal of Asthma, demonstrated that
magnesium also improved lung function. A drug called methacholine,
which causes constriction of the airways, was given to the asthma
patients. Twenty percent more methacholine was required to cause
bronchoconstriction in the participants who took magnesium as
compared to placebo, meaning that the magnesium counteracted
the constriction. Overall, patients using the magnesium had double
the improvement in quality of life as compared to the placebo group,
according to a questionnaire