Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death. It is therefore vital to get enough magnesium because according to research, low blood levels of magnesium are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes.
Magnesium takes part in more than 300 enzyme processes that are important for the body’s energy turnover, protein synthesis, nervous system, blood pressure, heart function, muscles, teeth, and bones. A lack of magnesium will of course impair these enzyme processes, which not only affects the heart and cardiovascular system but also affects many other vital body functions.
Magnesium and cardiovascular disease
It has been known for quite some time that blood levels of magnesium are inversely related to clogging of the coronary arteries in patients with chronic kidney disease. However, the amount of research showing a similar link to normal healthy people is limited. A recent study has shown that
everybody needs sufficient amounts of magnesium in the blood to prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
The study included 1,276 Mexicans (640 women and 636 men) in the age group 30-75 years. None of the participants had any symptoms of heart disease.
Over time, we all develop some degree of atherosclerosis, and the scientists measured levels of atherosclerosis by means of a special method, just like they measured blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Based on their findings, they concluded that the 25% of participants with most magnesium in their blood had a 48% lower risk of hypertension, 69% lower risk of type-2 diabetes, and 42% lower risk of coronary occlusion. On the other hand, those participants who had low blood magnesium levels had an increased risk of coronary occlusion, hypertension, and accompanying diseases.
|Did you know that Coronary occlusion is a marker of atherosclerosis in general and cardiovascular disease and mortality?|
Magnesium and blood pressure
On a global scale, elevated blood pressure is the risk factor that causes the majority of premature deaths. For that very reason, it has a life-saving effect to engage in effective prevention by means of healthy living in order to ensure an adequate supply of essential nutrients to the body.
Several studies document that a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is associated with lower blood pressure. This may be because fruit and vegetables contain magnesium and potassium (that is also an important nutrient for blood pressure.)
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Korean study found that magnesium supplements alone had a blood pressure-lowering effect. The study included 155 overweight but non-diabetic people (BMI >23). All participants were given 300 mg of magnesium daily for a period of 12 weeks.
No effect was observed among those who did not have elevated blood pressure. However, among those who had elevated blood pressure (systolic BP above 140 and diastolic BP above 90), the magnesium supplement lowered the blood pressure significantly. On average, their systolic blood pressure was lowered by 17.1 mmHg, while their diastolic blood pressure was lowered by 3.4 mmHg. In the placebo group, the average reductions were 6.7 mmHg and 0.8 mmHg, respectively. None of the participants had side effects of the magnesium therapy.
Magnesium sources – and why don’t we get enough?
Good magnesium sources include kernels, almonds, nuts, seeds, whole-grain, vegetables, and fruit. During the past century, the agricultural soil has been increasingly depleted of nutrients. At the same time, we humans consume more and more refined and manufactured foods, causing our nutrient intake to decrease further, especially when it comes to nutrients like magnesium. Poor dietary habits, overconsumption of stimulants, diuretics, and stress all contribute to our constantly increasing lack of minerals like magnesium.
Intake of dietary magnesium in the United States
As shown, magnesium intake in the United States has decreased drastically. A similar pattern is likely to be seen in Europe.
How much magnesium do we need?
The recommended intake of magnesium (DRI) is 3-400 mg. However, many scientists believe that the daily intake should ideally be around 500 mg, which is what people got before the industrialization. It is best to get your magnesium from a balanced diet, but supplements may be useful.
Magnesium supplements and a clever little quality test
Some magnesium supplements contains both organic and inorganic magnesium sources, which increase the bioavailability of the supplement. Not all magnesium preparations are absorbed equally well in the body, however, and if they merely pass through the digestive system without dissolving, you cannot expect them to work. A good way of testing your magnesium supplement is by placing a tablet in a glass of water. Wait for a few minutes and see if the tablet dissolves. If it dissolves relatively fast, it is a good indication that that the magnesium is easily absorbed by the body.
Posadas- Sánchez et al. Serum magnesium is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification in the Genetics of Atherosclerotic Disease (GEA) study. Nutrition Journal. 2016
Simopholus ,AP. The nutritional aspects of hypertension. Compr Ther. 1999
Appel L.J., More et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on bloodpressure. N Eng Med 1997
Lee S Park, H.K. et al. Effects of oral magnesium supplements on insulin sensitivity and blodpressure in normo-magnesemic nondiabetis overweight Korean adults. Nutr Metab Cardiovas Dis. 2009
Nikolai Hoffmann-Petersen, Torsten Lauritzen, Jesper Nørgaard Bech og Erling Bjerregaard Pedersen: High prevalance of Hypertension in Danish Population Telemedical Home Measurement of Blood Pressure in Citizens Aged 55-64 Years in Holstebro Caouty. American Journal of Hypertension. 2015
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