Previous studies have found that magnesium is inversely associated with the risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor of pancreatic cancer.
"But few studies have explored the direct association of magnesium with pancreatic cancer. Of those that did, their findings were inconclusive," said Daniel Dibaba, PhD student at the School of Public Health-Bloomington, who led the IU study.
Dibaba and colleagues analysed an enormous trove of data on over 66,000 men and women, aged 50 to 76, looking at the direct association between magnesium and pancreatic cancer.
Of those followed, 151 participants developed pancreatic cancer.
The study found that every 100-milligram-per-day decrease in magnesium intake was associated with a 24 percent increase in the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.
The study also found that the effects of magnesium on pancreatic cancer did not appear to be modified by age, gender or body mass index but was limited to those taking magnesium supplements either from a multivitamin or individual supplement.
"For those at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, adding a magnesium supplement to their diet may prove beneficial in preventing this disease," Dibaba added.
People should strive to get the daily recommendations of magnesium through diet, such as dark, leafy greens or nuts, to prevent any risk of pancreatic cancer.
The study appeared in the British Journal of Cancer.