Magnesium Protects Against Stroke, Heart Disease and Diabetes
If you’re looking for a way to decrease your risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, new research has revealed profound results from starting a simple new habit: consuming an extra 100 milligrams (mg) of magnesium via your food on a daily basis.
Researchers at Zhejiang University and Zhengzhou University in China found that more than 1 million people across nine countries who consumed the most magnesium tested out with a 10 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, a 12 percent lower stroke risk and a 26 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Regarding the new research, which was published in Biomed Central,1 lead study author Fudi Wang, Ph.D., explains:
“Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases, but no conclusive evidence has been put forward on the link between dietary magnesium and health risks.
Our meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence supporting a link between the role of magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease … Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency-related health risks.”2
Wang said in a Medical Xpress news release3 that although current guidelines recommend that men take about 300 mg of magnesium a day, and women 270 mg per day, deficiencies in this mineral are still common, affecting anywhere between 1.5 percent to 15 percent of the population.
The researchers hope this new information serves to not just encourage people to make sure they’re getting adequate magnesium, but to prompt policy makers to change dietary guidelines, which could diminish the number of magnesium deficiency-related diseases.
In 2013, the upshot of a “groundbreaking” review covering what was known about cardiovascular disease from as early as 1937 found that low magnesium levels —not high cholesterol or consumption of too much saturated fat —are the leading cause of many aspects of heart disease.
The 10-year review, conducted by research scientist and author Andrea Rosanoff, Ph.D., was based on the earlier research of Dr. Mildred Seelig, who studied the relationship between magnesium and cardiovascular disease for more than 40 years. Seelig noted:
“These numerous studies have found low magnesium to be associated with all known cardiovascular risk factors, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure, arterial plaque build-up (atherogenesis), hardening of the arteries and the calcification of soft tissues.
This means we have been chasing our tails all of these years going after cholesterol and the high saturated-fat diet, when the true culprit was and still is low magnesium.”4
As early as 1957, Rosanoff says, it was very clear that low magnesium was “strongly, convincingly, a cause of atherogenesis and the calcification of soft tissues. But this research was widely and immediately ignored as cholesterol and the high saturated-fat diet became the culprits to fight.”
Heart Issues Linked to Low Magnesium, but Science Takes a ‘Wrong Turn’
The “wrong turn” scientists took when the research was so clear, Rosanoff asserts, created a trajectory in the way heart disease and other cardiovascular issues have been dealt with across the board. This had resulted in entire populations failing to balance their magnesium intake with their calcium intake, and it’s getting worse.
Studies continue to show that when calcium and magnesium intake aren’t on an even keel, Rosanoff asserts, the risk of heart disease increases.
What Makes Magnesium Intake so Important?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the nationally syndicated and Emmy Award-winning Dr. Oz Show, as well as vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, says magnesium is essential for helping regulate metabolism, and it helps lower blood pressure and dilate arteries.
Additionally, Oz asserts, arguably 3 of every 4 people in the U.S. fail to get the amount of magnesium they need, which means they’re magnesium deficient.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 400 mg to 500 mg of calcium, Dean advises a 1-to-1 balance with magnesium, with calcium consumed through your diet and adding vitamin D doses along with vitamin K2, “and all of these measures combined will protect your bones as well as your heart.”
Wang’s research analyzed data from 40 epidemiological studies from 1999 to 2016, looking at the associations between dietary magnesium and different diseases. All the studies used self-reporting food frequency questionnaires from 24-hour dietary recall to determine magnesium levels, and they varied widely.
Biological, lifestyle, gender and study location factors were also taken into account. Afterward, he explained, the researchers performed a dose-response analysis for the effect of each 100 mg-per-day increase of dietary magnesium.
The conclusion of the study reinforced the study conclusion that increased consumption of magnesium-rich foods could be beneficial for overall health. Wang’s press release noted:
“Magnesium is vital for human health and normal biological functions including glucose metabolism, protein production and synthesis of nucleic acids such as DNA. Diet is the main source of magnesium as the element can be found in foods such as spices, nuts, beans, cocoa … and green leafy vegetables.”
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