Magnesium for the Prevention of Heart Disease

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Researchers from the Netherlands have completed two interesting magnesium studies showing that magnesium protects against high blood pressure and ischemic heart disease.

Distinct from blood levels of magnesium, the researchers measured urinary excretion of magnesium—a more accurate indicator of the actual magnesium consumed. Low levels of urinary magnesium directly predict low levels of magnesium intake.

In the blood pressure study , the researchers followed 5,511 people aged 28 to 75 years for 7.6 years, measuring their magnesium at the beginning and end of the study. During this time 1,172 people developed high blood pressure, an event that was directly associated with their magnesium status. Each incremental rise in magnesium intake provided a 21% risk reduction for developing blood pressure problems.

In the heart disease study, 7,664 adults were followed for 10.5 years, measuring magnesium at the beginning and end of the study. During this time, 462 fatal and nonfatal ischemic heart disease events occurred, meaning that vascular disease prevented blood flow to the heart. Those with the lowest magnesium were 60% more likely to have an adverse event and 70% more likely to die from it.

Magnesium has long been known to reduce inflammation and relax pressure in the circulatory system, while supporting stable electrical rhythms of the heart itself. These studies show that as magnesium levels drop, blood pressure rises, setting the stage for life-threatening heart disease.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health also just published a meta-analysis on magnesium and found that higher levels of magnesium were associated with a 30% risk reduction for cardiovascular disease.

Magnesium intake should be between 400 and 800 mg per day, with higher levels for increased stress or existing cardiovascular concerns.

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