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Abstract

Objective

To examine the cross-sectional association between dietary magnesium intake and radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA) among African American and white men and women.

Methods

The presence of radiographic knee OA was examined among participants from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project and was defined as a Kellgren/Lawrence grade of at least 2 in at least 1 knee. The Block Food Frequency Questionnaire was used to assess magnesium intake. Effect modifiers were explored by testing interactions of magnesium intake and selected factors based on previous studies. The multivariable logistic regression model with standard energy adjustment method was used to estimate the relationship between magnesium intake and radiographic knee OA.

Results

The prevalence of knee OA was 36.27% among the 2,112 participants. The relationship between magnesium intake and radiographic knee OA was found to be modified by race (P for interaction = 0.03). An inverse threshold association was observed among whites. Compared to participants in the lowest quintile, the relative odds of radiographic knee OA were cut by one-half for participants in the second quintile of magnesium intake (odds ratio 0.52, 95% confidence interval 0.34–0.79); further magnesium intake did not provide further benefits (P for trend = 0.51). A statistically significant association was not observed among African Americans.

Conclusion

A modest inverse threshold association was found between dietary magnesium intake and knee OA in whites, but not in African Americans. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and to elucidate the possible mechanisms of action for the racial modification.