Dietary magnesium, calcium:magnesium ratio and risk of reflux oesophagitis, Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma: A population-based case-control study

Qi Dai, Marie M. Cantwell, Liam J. Murray, Wei Zheng, Lesley A. Anderson, Helen G. Coleman*, FINBAR Study Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence suggests a role of Mg and the ratio of Ca:Mg intakes in the prevention of colonic carcinogenesis. The association between these nutrients and oesophageal adenocarcinoma - a tumour with increasing incidence in developed countries and poor survival rates - has yet to be explored. The aim of this investigation was to explore the association between Mg intake and related nutrients and risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma and its precursor conditions, Barrett's oesophagus and reflux oesophagitis. This analysis included cases of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (n 218), Barrett's oesophagus (n 212), reflux oesophagitis (n 208) and population-based controls (n 252) recruited between 2002 and 2005 throughout the island of Ireland. All the subjects completed a 101-item FFQ. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was applied to determine odds of disease according to dietary intakes of Mg, Ca and Ca:Mg ratio. After adjustment for potential confounders, individuals consuming the highest amounts of Mg from foods had significant reductions in the odds of reflux oesophagitis (OR 0·31; 95 % CI 0·11, 0·87) and Barrett's oesophagus (OR 0·29; 95 % CI 0·12, 0·71) compared with individuals consuming the lowest amounts of Mg. The protective effect of Mg was more apparent in the context of a low Ca:Mg intake ratio. No significant associations were observed for Mg intake and oesophageal adenocarcinoma risk (OR 0·77; 95 % CI 0·30, 1·99 comparing the highest and the lowest tertiles of consumption). In conclusion, dietary Mg intakes were inversely associated with reflux oesophagitis and Barrett's oesophagus risk in this Irish population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-350
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

The Factors INfluencing the Barrett’s Adenocarcinoma Relationship (FINBAR) study group members include L. J. M. (Queen’s University Belfast), L. A. A. (Queen’s University Belfast), B. T. Johnston (Belfast Health & Social Care Trust), R. G. P. Watson (Belfast Health & Social Care Trust), J. McGuigan (Belfast Health & Social Care Trust), H. R. Ferguson (Belfast Health & Social Care Trust), S. J. Murphy (St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin), J. V. Reynolds (St James’ Hospital, Dublin) and H. Comber (National Cancer Registry of Ireland). The authors appreciate the contributions made by the study participants, their families and all of them who assisted with the study, particularly the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and National Cancer Registry Cork.

The FINBAR study was supported by funding from Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (formerly the Ulster Cancer Foundation), the Northern Ireland R&D office and the Health Research Board. H. G. C. is currently supported by a Cancer Research UK Population Research Postdoctoral Fellowship. None of the funders had any role in the design, analysis or writing of this article.

L. J. M. and L. A. A. designed and conducted the FINBAR study research; Q. D., M. M. C., W. Z. and H. G. C. planned the nutritional and statistical analysis approach; H. G. C. analysed the data; and Q. D. and H. G. C. wrote the first draft of the paper. All the authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


  • Barrett's oesophagus
  • Calcium
  • Diets
  • Magnesium
  • Oesophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Reflux oesophagitis
  • Vitamin D


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