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December 2013

Dietary Magnesium Intake Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk

High dietary intake of magnesium may be linked to a decreased risk for heart disease or death, according to a recent study.

The human body contains large amounts of the element magnesium. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions. Studies on magnesium have shown it to be effective for the treatment of acute childhood asthma. Some studies have also shown benefit from magnesium for the treatment of several heart disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type 2 diabetes, hearing loss, leg cramps during pregnancy, and side effects from the drug succinylcholine (a neuromuscular blocker). At higher doses, magnesium may control high blood pressure, although study findings are unclear.

In a recent study, researchers analyzed data on 7216 participants 58-80 years-old from the PREDIMED study to assess the potential relationship between dietary magnesium intake and heart disease or death. Participants of the PREDIMED study were assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or olive oil, or to a low-fat control diet. Data on deaths was collected through death and medical records.

After an average follow-up period of 4.8 years, 323 total deaths, including 81 cardiovascular and 130 cancer-related deaths, as well as 277 cardiovascular events were reported. Dietary magnesium intake was inversely associated with cancer-related, cardiovascular-related and death from any cause. Through data analyses, the researchers found that participants who consumed the highest amount of magnesium in their diet had a 34 percent reduced risk of death when compared to those who consumed the least.

The authors concluded that high magnesium intake in the diet may reduce the risk of heart disease-related death.

While promising, this study only suggests a potential association and does not prove a cause-and -effect relationship. Further research is necessary.

For more information about magnesium, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.

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  1. Guasch-Ferré M, Bulló M, Estruch R, et al. Dietary Magnesium Intake Is Inversely Associated with Mortality in Adults at High Cardiovascular Risk. J Nutr. 2013 Nov 20. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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