Letter | Published:

Importance of Magnesium in the Control of Plasma Calcium in the Calf

Naturevolume 191pages181182 (1961) | Download Citation



IT has been known for many years1 that when calves are fed for an abnormally long time on milk only they usually, sooner or later, become hypomagnesæmic. In my experiments, four out of sixteen calves fed to about five months of age or more on milk without supplementary vitamin D showed neither hypomagnesæmia nor hypocalcæmia while the remainder became hypomagnesæmic. Of the latter, all but one showed a fall in plasma calcium more or less closely correlated with the fall in plasma magnesium. An example is shown in Fig. 1 and other examples have been reported previously2. My work has shown fairly clearly that the hypomagnesæmia is due to magnesium deficiency resulting from a decrease in the ability of the calves to absorb dietary magnesium as they get older3, but the reason for the hypocalcæmia is less clear.

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    Smith, R. H., Biochem. J., 71, 306 (1959); Nature, 184, 821 (1959).

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    Thomas, J. W., and Moore, L. A., J. Dairy Sci., 34, 916 (1951).

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    Heaton, F. W., Biochem. J., 77, 1 P (1960).

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    Alcock, N., and MacIntyre, I. I., Biochem. J., 76, 19 P (1960).

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    Randoin, L., Causeret, J., Hugot, D., and Morel, G., Bull. Soc. Chim. Biol., 34, 1159 (1952).

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    Smith, R. H., Biochem. J., 71, 609 (1959).

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    Neuman, W. F., and Neuman, M. W., The Chemical Dynamics of Bone Mineral, 33 (University of Chicago Press, 1958).

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Author information


  1. National Institute for Research in Dairying, Shinfield, Reading, Berkshire

    • R. H. SMITH


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Further reading

  • Primary hypomagnesemia

    • Ingrid Lombeck
    • , F. Ritzl
    • , H. G. Schnippering
    • , H. Michael
    • , H. J. Bremer
    • , L. E. Feinendegen
    •  & W. Kosenow

    Zeitschrift f?r Kinderheilkunde (1975)

  • Magnesium metabolism

    • Mackenzie Walser

    Ergebnisse der Physiologie Biologischen Chemie und Experimentellen Pharmakologie (1967)


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