Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the human body, being involved in more than 300 reactions necessary for transmitting nerve impulses, temperature regulation, detoxifying the liver, releasing adrenaline, forming and mineralizing bones and teeth.
60% of the total amount of magnesium in the body is found in bones, with the rest of 40% being spread in tissues and organs. Only 1% of it can be found in blood – for this reason, blood tests cannot accurately detect a magesium deficiency.
The symptoms insufficient magnesium leads to are countless. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, heart attacks and cerebrovascular accidents.
Magnesium has a similar role to heart medication
According to the Westeon A. Price Foundation – a non-profit education and nutrition foundation, magnesium can fulfill the role of the most common heart medication on its own:
- it inhibits blood clot formation (similarly to Aspirin)
- it thins the blood (like Warfarin)
- it blocks calcium absorption (the same way beta blockers such as Nifedipine do)
- it relaxes blood vessels (similarly to ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril)
Researchers from Brigham Young University state that magnesium can lower the risk of coronary artery disease.
A study made by american researchers on women, post-menopause, showed that a lack of magnesium in the diet can lead to heart arrhythmia, alteration of the cholesterol metabolism, affecting the control of blood sugar and the overall cardiovascular health.
Scientists from the Irvine Medical Center in USA claim that magnesium is essential for preventing congestive heart failure and maintaining the cardiovascular hemodynamics stable.
A systematic review published in 2013 showed that the levels of circular and alimentary magnesium are linked with the posibility of decreasing stroke risks.
A recent study lead by dr. Yiqing Song from the University of Indiana showed a link between magnesium and the control of blood pressure. The data from 24 clinical studies done on 2000 patients suggests that administrating magnesium supplements helps with reducing blood pressure to a healthy level. This is due to its ability to relax and dilate blood vessels.
Risks associated with magnesium deficiency
It is important to know that some medication leads to lowering the magnesium levels in your body. Some examples would be antibiotics, birth control pills, cortisone, estrogen compounds, prednisone and drugs used for arterial hypertension.
Highly processed foods also contribute to magnesium deficiency in the body. For every molecule of sugar ingested, the body needs to use 54 magnesium molecules in order to process it. Alcohol and caffeine are also known to accelerate the drop in magnesium levels.
Daily recommended dose of magnesium
The daily dose recommended for men is 400 to 420 mg, while for women it is 310 to 320 mg.
The best food sources for it are green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, salad), nuts and seeds, beans, some integral cereals (wheat grains), fatty fish, forest fruits and avocado, to name a few. It can also be found as a supplement.
Some of the most common health problems are related to the heart, yet preventing a big part of them can be a matter as simple as keeping a healthy magnesium level through your diet.