Date of Publication


Degree Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Bernardo Ortega, Associate Professor


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disease characterized by inflammation of the GI tract, which disturbs the mucosal lining and hinders magnesium (Mg2+) absorption. Research has shown that increasing the dietary intake of Mg2+ decreases the severity of the colitis symptoms, but there is no data on the effect this has on the microbiota of the GI tract or the blood. We found that, in DSS-treated mice, the amount of bacteria in the colon increases with a decrease in dietary Mg2+, and that the concentration of bacteria in the spleen does not correlate to symptom severity or to colonic bacterial amounts. Mg2+ could be used as a supplement for UC patients, treating both hypomagnesemia and lowering colonic bacteria closer to healthy levels.