Dietary magnesium alleviates experimental murine colitis through modulation of gut microbiota

Federica Del Chierico, Valentina Trapani, Valentina Petito, Sofia Reddel, Giuseppe Pietropaolo, Cristina Graziani, Letizia Masi, Antonio Gasbarrini, Lorenza Putignani, Franco Scaldaferri, Federica I. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nutritional deficiencies are common in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In patients, magnesium (Mg) deficiency is associated with disease severity, while in murine models, dietary Mg supplementation contributes to restoring mucosal function. Since Mg availability modulates key bacterial functions, including growth and virulence, we investigated whether the beneficial effects of Mg supplementation during colitis might be mediated by gut microbiota. The effects of dietary Mg modulation were assessed in a murine model of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis by monitoring magnesemia, weight, and fecal consistency. Gut microbiota were analyzed by 16S-rRNA based profiling on fecal samples. Mg supplementation improved microbiota richness in colitic mice, increased abundance of Bifidobacterium and reduced Enterobacteriaceae. KEEG pathway analysis predicted an increase in biosynthetic metabolism, DNA repair and translation pathways during Mg supplementation and in the presence of colitis, while low Mg conditions favored catabolic processes. Thus, dietary Mg supplementation increases bacteria involved in intestinal health and metabolic homeostasis, and reduces bacteria involved in inflammation and associated with human diseases, such as IBD. These findings suggest that Mg supplementation may be a safe and cost-effective strategy to ameliorate disease symptoms and restore a beneficial intestinal flora in IBD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4188
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Bifidobacterium
  • Dextran sodium sulfate
  • Dysbiosis
  • Enterobacteriacee
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Magnesemia
  • Magnesium supplementation
  • Metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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