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September 2014 Issue
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Getting Ahead of the Curve: Magnesium



The next wave in mineral-mania appears to be magnesium. Magnesium was the fastest-growing mineral supplement in the $2.3 billion mineral category over the past three years, posting sales of $340 million in 2009, according to Nutrition Business Journal. SymphonyIRI reported that magnesium supplement sales were up nearly 25% in 2010 in mass channels excluding Walmart.



By Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan



Published January 2, 2012
Related Searches: Vitamin D Mineral Blood pressure Diabetes
The next wave in mineral-mania appears to be magnesium. Magnesium was the fastest-growing mineral supplement in the $2.3 billion mineral category over the past three years, posting sales of $340 million in 2009, according to Nutrition Business Journal. SymphonyIRI reported that magnesium supplement sales were up nearly 25% in 2010 in mass channels excluding Walmart.

According to an Office of Dietary Supplements’ (ODS) Fact Sheet, magnesium is a key element in more than 300 biological functions; it helps maintain normal muscle/nerve function, keeps the heart’s rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong.

Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is increasing interest in magnesium in preventing/managing hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s 2011 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, 8% of supplement users take a magnesium supplement, ranking seventh overall—just after vitamin E and before iron. Among supplement users aged 50+, 12% take a magnesium supplement, ranking ninth, just behind glucosamine. One in 10 (13%) adults are making a strong effort to consume more magnesium, per the 2010 Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge and Consumption. 

Fifty million U.S. households have a member trying to manage blood pressure. The estimated annual potential for over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements is $7.8 billion; 27 million heart problems/stroke (estimated at $4.2 billion), 23 million diabetes ($3.4 billion) and 18 million with other heart problems ($2.8 billion), according to SymphonyIRI’s November 2010 OTC Medication Report.

Globally, magnesium is the third most used ingredient in healthy foods/drinks, according to Innova Market Insights.

Market Potential

According to Sloan Trends’ TrendSense model, magnesium is a strong and stable Level 2 mass market opportunity on par with omega 3s and vitamin D. Medical Counts have slowly accelerated throughout the decade and at this very high level will continue to support a strong market condition for the foreseeable future. The spike in 2006-2007 is likely due to media attention of the World Health Organization’s symposium in 2006 on calcium and magnesium in Baltimore, MD.

Interestingly, the linkages of magnesium to heart and bone health crossed over the Medical Threshold early in the decade. Magnesium/blood pressure is currently flirting with crossing the Medical Threshold and is not far behind.

Magnesium linked to bone, heart and blood pressure has crossed into the Popularization Phase indicating timing is perfect for introducing products in the specialty/health food channel and for very health conscious and condition-specific consumers. Specialty marketers should not have products on the shelf.

According to Natural Standard’s peer-reviewed and medically ranked clinical analyses, clinical evidence is strongest for magnesium’s role in managing pre-eclampsia in pregnancy; reducing irregular heartbeat, risk of type 2 diabetes, hearing loss due to noise and severity of acute asthma; and helping to provide neuroprotection for premature infants.


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