heart healthy magnesium — Magnesium deficits have been linked with a long list of cardiovascular and other disorders: high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation, cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries, painful spasms of coronary arteries, sudden cardiac arrest, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more. But whether modestly low magnesium stores are the cause of these conditions or the result of them is up in the air.
Magnesium is one of the more plentiful minerals in the body. Half is stored in bone, and almost all the rest is locked inside cells. Only about 1% of magnesium is in the bloodstream. A normal blood level is between 1.8 and 2.3 mg/dL of blood.
According to a report by Harvard health Publishing, the abundance of magnesium in the body reflects its importance. It plays a role in hundreds of chemical reactions, many of them having to do with changing food into energy. Muscles need magnesium to contract and relax; nerves need it to send signals. It supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong, and helps regulate blood sugar.
It’s possible that magnesium is more important for maintaining the heart’s electrical properties (which would affect sudden cardiac death) and less important for blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which are influenced by damage to artery walls and inflammation.
A Live Science report adds that a magnesium deficiency can sometimes cause coronary spasm, a phenomenon in which the arteries that supply blood to the heart spasm and block blood flow. Dangerously low levels of magnesium can also result in low calcium (hypocalcemia), and low potassium (hypokalemia) — which can be fatal in extreme cases. Severely low magnesium can also result in a heart attack, respiratory arrest and death.
While magnesium supplements can certainly treat a magnesium deficiency, studies also show getting more magnesium than the bare minimum may help certain conditions. Several long-term studies have found a correlation between high magnesium levels and a lower risk of heart disease, sudden cardiac death and ischemic heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.
Magnesium may also help prevent stroke. An analysis of seven studies including more than 200,000 people found that an extra 100 milligrams of magnesium a day reduced a person’s risk of stroke by 8 percent, according to a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Studies show magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure, but only by a little bit. One analysis of more than 22 studies on magnesium and blood pressure found that magnesium supplements reduced blood pressure by 2 to 4 mmHg, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, high blood pressure can fall within a range of 20 mmHg: from 140/90 mmHg to 160/100 mmHg.
In the study, people’s drop in blood pressure was greater when they increased their magnesium by eating more fruits and vegetables, or taking more than 370 milligrams of magnesium a day. Recommended daily intake of magnesium range from 320 milligrams to 420 milligrams, depending on age or gender. But because a diet with more fruits and vegetable will also increase levels of other nutrients, it is difficult to measure the independent effect magnesium has on blood pressure.