(HealthDay News) – Magnesium, but not calcium, intake seems to be associated with total bone mineral content and density among young children, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 4–7 in Washington, DC.

Steven A. Abrams, MD, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues examined magnesium intake, absorption, and urinary excretion in a group of 63 children, aged 4–8 years, to examine the correlation with bone mineral status.

The researchers found that the efficiency of magnesium absorption was slightly, but significantly, greater for males than females; however, due to higher urinary excretion in males, there was no difference in estimated net magnesium retention. An intake of approximately 130mg/day led to a net average retention of 10mg/day, an amount that met the likely growth-related need for net positive retention. Dietary magnesium intake, but not calcium intake, correlated significantly with both total body bone mineral content and density. There was no association for gender or race with bone mineral outcomes.

“Lots of nutrients are key for children to have healthy bones,” Abrams said in a statement. “Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.”

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