For those that have been reading our newsletter for some time probably remember an article I wrote on the many functions of magnesium, and today I want to point out its role in heart health.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. While a lot of emphasis has been placed on the importance of the Mediterranean diet and increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids (fish and flax seed oil), I want to highlight another important, and perhaps overlooked mineral. MAGNESIUM.
Nearly half the population consumes less than the required amount from our diet, making it a common nutrient deficiency. Magnesium can be therapeutic for all things heart: arrhythmias, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and endothelial dysfunction. The slightest deficiency can cause changes in the way the heart, blood vessels, and other tissues function. This mineral is critical for nerve and muscle activity. While being an overall relaxing mineral; it is responsible for regulating electric impulses within the cell. Where is the highest concentration of magnesium found? The cells of the heart and brain. In one long-term study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that the risk of sudden cardiac death 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 sudden cardiac death. 1
A deficiency has also been shown to contribute to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes, both of which lead to cardiovascular disease. What else can cause a deficiency? Many common prescription medications: birth control pills, insulin, diuretics, antacids, certain antibiotics, and corticosteroids. You also need a healthy gut environment to absorb minerals in your diet. Those with IBS, leaky gut or acid reflux, are not going to be able to absorb enough magnesium. Older adults have reduced magnesium storage and poorer absorption, making magnesium supplementation more important, especially if they are on any of the above medications.
Striving to eat more magnesium-rich foods like green, leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and wheat (if possible) is a step in the right direction. However, it still might not provide enough magnesium. Simply adding a high- quality magnesium supplement. Look for a more absorbable form (glycinate or malate) and adjust dose according to tolerance. Epsom salt baths are another option.
Magnesium is on my list of must have nutrients. Consider adding it to your daily regimen. Contact me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean, Carolyn, MD. The Magnesium Miracle. 2003.