MARCH 14, 2016 by MAE CHAN
Higher serum levels of magnesium may reduce the risk of hypertension by almost 50% and the risk of coronary artery calcification by 42%, says a new study.
More than 70 percent of the population have an unhealthy balance of 10 calcium to 1 magnesium in our many trillions of cells. A previous study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that for every 50 mg per day increase in intake of the mineral, the risk of cancer was modestly reduced by 7%.
Another notable study of more than 4,600 Americans, begun in 1985, found the risk of developing metabolic syndrome over the next 15 years was 31 percent lower for those with the highest intake of magnesium.
Data from 1,276 Mexican-mestizo subjects also indicated that for every 0.17 mg/dL increase in serum magnesium level was associated with a 16% reduction in coronary artery calcification.
While the data indicates correlation and not causation, scientists from the National Institute of Cardiology – Ignacio ChÃ¡vez in Mexico City said that there is biological plausibility for the potential cardiovascular benefits, adding that the mechanism(s) may be linked to enhancing endothelial function and reducing inflammation.
One study, which combined data from 313,041 people, provides the “most robust evidence to date of the associations between circulating and dietary magnesium across their usual physiologic ranges and CVD risk”, wrote Dr Dariush Mozaffarian and his co-authors in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The results add to an ever growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of the mineral. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists magnesium as being necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, from helping maintain normal muscle and nerve function, to keeping heart rhythm steady, supporting a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong. The mineral is also needed for blood sugar management, and healthy blood pressure.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued positive opinions on magnesium and the maintenance of normal bone, teeth, and protein synthesis; the reduction of tiredness and fatigue; electrolyte balance; normal energy-yielding metabolism; neurotransmission, and muscle contraction.
However, EFSA was not convinced by claims about magnesium and blood glucose, blood pressure, stress relief, protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage, the immune system and fat metabolism.
The new cross-sectional study, which was published in the Nutrition Journal , assessed magnesium levels in almost 1,300 Mexican participants aged between 30 and 75. None of the participants had any symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
The results indicated that people with the highest average serum levels magnesium (greater than 2.18 mg/dl) had 48% lower odds of high blood pressure (hypertension), 69 % lower odds of type 2 diabetes, and 42% lower odds of coronary artery calcification, compared with people with lowest average levels (less than 1.97 mg/dl).
“The results of this study strongly suggest that lower serum magnesium levels are associated with coronary artery calcification in Mexican subjects free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease,” wrote the researchers. “Confirmation of these results in other populations is required. Additional prospective studies are also needed to determine if hypomagnesaemia predicts the development and progression of coronary atherosclerosis.”