Researchers analyzed data from more than 88,000 women. Over the 26 year follow-up period, women whose magnesium intake was among the highest 25 percent of the subjects had a 34 percent lower adjusted risk of sudden cardiac death.
According to the article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
"Given that most Americans do not meet the RDA [recommended daily allowance] for magnesium, increasing intake of magnesium presents a potential opportunity for sudden cardiac death prevention in the general population."
You don't hear much about magnesium, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral and the health consequences of deficiency are significant.
One reason could be because magnesium, like vitamin D, serves so many functions it's hard to corral. This mineral is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, including the:
- Creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate), which is the energy molecules of your body
- Action of your heart muscle
- Regulation of blood sugar levels
- Proper formation of bones and teeth
- Relaxation of blood vessels
- Promotion of proper bowel function
Magnesium deficiency can trigger a number of health conditions and problems, such as:
- Heart disease
Magnesium Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a leading cause of heart-related deaths, especially in those over 40. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SCD accounts for more than 250,000 deaths annually.
In a recent long-term study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that the relative risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) was significantly lower in women with the highest amounts of magnesium. Each 0.25-mg/dL increment in plasma magnesium was associated with a 41 percent lower risk of SCD.
A similar 15-year long study published last year found that people with the highest blood levels of magnesium had a 40 percent reduction in the risk of SCD, compared to those with the lowest magnesium levels.
There is in fact quite a bit of evidence supporting the link between magnesium and heart health, and back in the 1930s doctors used to prescribe magnesium for heart disease.
Magnesium may also be extremely useful if administered quickly, directly after a heart attack.
How Intravenous Magnesium Could Save Your Life
Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of "The Miracle of Magnesium," wrote an article for this site back in 2004 in which she states:
"A review of seven major clinical studies showed that IV magnesium reduced the odds of death by more than half in patients suffering acute myocardial infarction (heart attack).
One study developed a protocol for giving magnesium as soon as possible after onset of the heart attack and before any other drugs. If those criteria were followed, heart muscle damage was greatly reduced, and neither hypertension nor arrhythmia developed.
...Another smaller trial with only 200 people who were given IV magnesium at the onset of a heart attack, experienced a 74 percent lower death rate"
During and after a heart attack, you may suffer:
- Exacerbated heart damage as calcium floods into the muscle
- Blood clotting
- Decreased blood flow as blood vessels go into spasm
In such an instant, magnesium is beneficial because it helps:
- Dilate your blood vessels
- Prevent spasm in your heart muscle and blood vessel walls
- Counteract the action of calcium, which increases spasm
- Help dissolve blood clots
- Dramatically reduce the site of injury and prevent arrhythmia
- Act as an antioxidant against the free radicals forming at the site of injury
Unfortunately, magnesium is not properly utilized by conventional medicine.
In fact, many heart drugs, primarily diuretics, tend to deplete your body of magnesium, even though it's absolutely required for stabilizing heart muscle activity!
Magnesium and Calcium for Hypertension
High blood pressure is yet another health problem that responds favorably to magnesium. According to a study published last year, the mineral significantly decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those diagnosed with hypertension in just 12 weeks. This lends further support to the immense role this mineral plays in your health.
Interestingly, one of the first papers I ever published in the medical literature, 25 years ago, was on the use of calcium supplementation to control high blood pressure. So I've known of the connection of important minerals like calcium and magnesium in the stabilization of blood pressure for nearly three decades.
If you decide to supplement with magnesium it is important to understand that its complementary partner is calcium. So ideally you should have a source of both. If you are having dairy though there is typically no reason for oral calcium supplementation.
Typically you would use twice as much elemental magnesium relative to the elemental calcium. That ratio seems to work quite well for most people.
Signs You May Not be Getting Enough Magnesium
Unfortunately, there's no lab test that will give an accurate reading of the magnesium status in your tissues. Only one percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, which makes a simple blood sample highly inaccurate.
That's why most doctors who rely on blood tests for magnesium, as opposed to looking for signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency, will frequently miss an important diagnosis.
With that in mind, some early signs of magnesium deficiency to keep an eye out for include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
An ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle contractions and cramps
- Personality changes
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Coronary artery spasms
How to Get Enough Magnesium
If you suspect you are low in magnesium, the best way to consume this mineral is through organically bound magnesium, which is found in organic green, leafy vegetables.
Other excellent foods high in magnesium are:
- Some beans and peas
Organic foods may contain more magnesium, particularly if the farmer replenishes his soil with magnesium-rich fertilizers. (Factory farms tend to use fertilizers rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to make plants grow and appear healthy.)
However, if magnesium and other minerals and micronutrients are not introduced through the soil, the plants may look healthy but will not be packed with the nutrition you need.
As a general rule, to get as much magnesium as possible in your diet, eat plenty of organic leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds every day. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you're getting enough of them in your diet.