Magnesium and Health – Part 1January 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.
Another 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!
Tags: Heart Health, Magnesium
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements