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Magnesium and Health – Part 1

January 21, 2009 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The most popular mineral of our current age is undoubtedly calcium. Almost everyone knows that calcium is essential to keep our bones and teeth strong. When we’re young, our parents often urge us to drink milk or fortified juices because of their calcium content. But there’s another macro-mineral (a “major” mineral that needs to be consumed in dosages of more than 100 mg per day) that often goes unnoticed. It’s so important that I want to devote two days to some of the recent findings about it. The mineral I’m referring to is magnesium.

The Heart of the Matter

It’s hard to find an organ or system that isn’t affected by magnesium. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 vital biochemical processes in our bodies. These processes range from the formation of our skeletal system to the ability to generate energy to the contraction of our muscles.

One of the areas in which magnesium plays a very important role is in relation to cardiovascular health. So today I want to highlight several recent studies on the benefits of magnesium in managing the health of the heart and circulatory system.

In November of 2008, a study was published in the Journal of Human Hypertension. In that study, 82 diabetic volunteers with high blood pressure were prescribed either a magnesium supplement (containing 450 mg of magnesium) or a placebo for a 4 month period. The ages of the participants ranged from 40 to 75 years of age.

The group receiving the magnesium had a significant decrease in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the top and bottom numbers). The magnesium supplementing group also experienced a rise in their HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” cholesterol). Both of these changes are consistent with improved heart health.

MagnesiumAnother study published one month later offers some additional insights into the role of magnesium and the health of our hearts. This particular study was a review of 14 previous studies that measured the effects of drinking “hard water” on cardiovascular disease. Hard water is a source of water that is rich in minerals.

In total, this review utilized data on over 2,900 people. After pouring through all the data, the authors of the study concluded that they “found significant evidence of an inverse association between magnesium levels in drinking water and cardiovascular mortality”. In other words, higher levels of magnesium in drinking water led to lower rates of heart related deaths.

The two previous studies are powerful pieces of information. But they offer more of a preventive type of application for magnesium. One question that often comes up is whether magnesium has any role in more advanced cases of heart disease. In any such case, it’s obviously very important to work closely with a knowledgeable health care practitioner. And hopefully, such a practitioner will at least consider the role that magnesium could possibly play in an integrative approach to treatment. Here’s one example why:

A brand new study in the International Journal of Cardiology set out to determine whether a form of magnesium known as magnesium orotate could help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients with severe heart failure.

A total of 79 patients were split into 3 groups. One group received 6,000 mg of magnesium orotate. The second group received 3,000 mg of magnesium orotate. The final group was given a placebo. The trial took place over the course of 11 months. All of the patients in this study continued to use their prescribed medications and were closely monitored by their cardiologists.

After a year had passed, the researchers analyzed the data on the patients in the study. Here’s what they found:

  • About 76% of the patients using the magnesium orotate were alive after one year.
  • Only 52% of the placebo group survived one year.
  • Those taking the magnesium also found a nearly 39% improvement in their symptoms. This indicates an improvement in the quality of life.

Because of these results, the authors suggest that magnesium orotate may be a useful addition to conventional therapy for severe congestive heart failure.

I just want to point out that magnesium orotate is a special form of the mineral. It’s thought to be well absorbed, but it’s also very bulky. In other other words, you typically need to take quite a bit of it in order to get a significant amount of elemental (actual) magnesium. It’s my understanding that most magnesium orotate supplements contain about 6-7% elemental magnesium. Based on that percentage, 6,000 mg of magnesium orotate would equal about 400 mg of actual magnesium (and the 3,000 mg dose would provide about 200 mg of magnesium).

Tomorrow, I’m going to focus on some other applications for magnesium supplementation. I’ll also list some of the best foods sources for this invaluable mineral.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements

4 Comments & Updates to “Magnesium and Health – Part 1”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: Magnesium citrate protects against potentially dangerous elevations in blood pressure during pregnancy …


    Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013 Dec;288(6):1269-74.

    Magnesium supplementation to prevent high blood pressure in pregnancy: a randomised placebo control trial.

    PURPOSE: To assess if hypertension during the last part of pregnancy could be prevented by magnesium supplementation.

    METHODS: Pregnant primagravida women from a local antenatal care unit were given an oral supply of 300 mg magnesium as citrate or placebo from pregnancy week 25 in a randomised double-blind setup. Blood pressure was recorded during pregnancy as well as pregnancy outcome.

    RESULTS: In the magnesium-supplemented group, the average diastolic blood pressure at week 37 was significantly lower than in the placebo group (72/1.4 mean/SEM vs 77/1.4, p = 0.031). The number of women with an increase in diastolic blood pressure of ≥15 mmHg was significantly lower in the magnesium group compared with the women who received placebo (p = 0.011). There was an inverse relation between the urinary excretion of magnesium during pregnancy and the diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.005).

    CONCLUSIONS: Magnesium supplementation prevented an increase in diastolic blood pressure during the last weeks of pregnancy. The relation between diastolic blood pressure and urinary excretion of magnesium suggests that magnesium is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and that the increase in diastolic blood pressure in pregnancy could be due to a lack of magnesium.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update: Shelled hemp seeds are an excellent source of magnesium – about 45% of the RDA per ounce.


    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 05/06/15:


    Diabetes Metab. 2015 Apr 27. pii: S1262-3636(15)00058-0.

    Oral magnesium supplementation improves glycaemic status in subjects with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia: A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.


    This study evaluated the efficacy of oral magnesium supplementation in the reduction of plasma glucose levels in adults with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia.


    A total of 116 men and non-pregnant women, aged 30 to 65years with hypomagnesaemia and newly diagnosed with prediabetes, were enrolled into a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to receive either 30mL of MgCl2 5% solution (equivalent to 382mg of magnesium) or an inert placebo solution once daily for four months. The primary trial endpoint was the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in reducing plasma glucose levels.


    At baseline, there were no significant statistical differences in terms of anthropometric and biochemical variables between individuals in the supplement and placebo groups. At the end of follow-up, fasting (86.9±7.9 and 98.3±4.6mg/dL, respectively; P=0.004) and post-load glucose (124.7±33.4 and 136.7±23.9mg/dL, respectively; P=0.03) levels, HOMA-IR indices (2.85±1.0 and 4.1±2.7, respectively; P=0.04) and triglycerides (166.4±90.6 and 227.0±89.7, respectively; P=0.009) were significantly decreased, whereas HDL cholesterol (45.6±10.9 and 46.8±9.2mg/dL, respectively; P=0.04) and serum magnesium (1.96±0.27 and 1.60±0.26mg/dL, respectively; P=0.005) levels were significantly increased in those taking MgCl2 compared with the controls. A total of 34 (29.4%) people improved their glucose status (50.8% and 7.0% in the magnesium and placebo groups, respectively; P<0.0005).


    Our results show that magnesium supplementation reduces plasma glucose levels, and improves the glycaemic status of adults with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Update 06/13/15:


    J Rheumatol. 2015 Jun 1.

    Relationship between Serum Magnesium Concentration and Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis.

    OBJECTIVE: To establish whether there is a relationship between serum magnesium (Mg) concentration and radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA).

    METHODS: There were 2855 subjects in this cross-sectional study. Serum Mg concentration was measured using the chemiluminescence method. Radiographic OA of the knee was defined as changes consistent with Kellgren-Lawrence (K-L) grade 2 on at least 1 side. Mg concentration was classified into 1 of 4 quartiles: ≤ 0.87, 0.88-0.91, 0.92-0.96, or ≥ 0.97 mmol/l. Multivariable logistic analysis was used to test the association between serum Mg and radiographic knee OA after adjustment for potentially confounding factors. The OR with 95% CI for the association between radiographic knee OA and serum Mg concentration were calculated for each quartile. The quartile with the lowest value was regarded as the reference category.

    RESULTS: Significant association between serum Mg concentration and radiographic knee OA was observed in the model after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index, as well as in the multivariable model. The multivariable-adjusted OR (95% CI) for radiographic knee OA in the second, third, and fourth serum Mg concentration quartiles were 0.90 (95% CI 0.71-1.13), 0.92 (95% CI 0.73-1.16), and 0.72 (95% CI 0.57-0.92), respectively, compared with the lowest (first) quartile. A clear trend (p for trend was 0.01) was observed. The relative odds of radiographic knee OA was decreased by 0.72 times in the fourth serum Mg quartile compared with the lowest quartile.

    CONCLUSION: Serum Mg concentration may have an inverse relationship with radiographic OA of the knee.

    Be well!


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