The Health Benefits of Magnesium
There are many health benefits of magnesium and according to the National Institutes of Health, Magnesium may be Involved in the Prevention or Treatment of the Following Diseases:
Magnesium and Osteoporosis
Magnesium deficiency may be a risk factor for osteoporosis4 because magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium.20 Several human studies have suggested that supplementing with magnesium can improve your bone mineral density.4 In a study of older adults, a greater magnesium intake maintained bone mineral density to a greater degree than a lower magnesium intake.56 Diets with recommended levels of magnesium are beneficial for bone health, but further investigation on the exact role of magnesium in bone metabolism and osteoporosis is needed.
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Magnesium and High Blood Pressure
Magnesium may play an important role in regulating your blood pressure naturally.4 Diets including plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of potassium and magnesium, are consistently associated with lower blood pressure.31-33 The DASH study suggested that high blood pressure could be significantly lowered by a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods. This kind of diet is high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and low in sodium and bad fats.34-36
A Harvard study examined the effect of various nutritional factors on incidence of high blood pressure in over 30,000 US male health professionals in 1992. This four year study found that a lower risk of hypertension was associated with dietary patterns that provided more magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber.37
Foods high in magnesium are usually high in potassium and dietary fiber too. This makes it difficult to evaluate the independent effect of magnesium on blood pressure. However, newer scientific evidence from DASH clinical trials is strong enough that the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure states that “diets with high magnesium are positive lifestyle modifications for individuals with hypertension.” This group recommends the DASH diet as a beneficial eating plan for people with hypertension and for those with “pre-hypertension” who desire to prevent high blood pressure.39-41
Magnesium and Diabetes
Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, so it influences the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood glucose levels.13 Low blood levels of magnesium are frequently seen if you have type 2 diabetes. This low magnesium state worsens insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes. If you have insulin resistance, you do not use insulin efficiently and require greater amounts of insulin to maintain blood sugar within normal levels. Your kidneys lose their ability to retain magnesium during periods of severe hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose). Losing magnesium through your urine results in lower blood levels of magnesium.4 If you are an older adult, correcting magnesium depletion may improve your insulin response and action.42
The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study follow more than 170,000 health professionals through biennial questionnaires. Women were followed for 18 years and the men were followed for 12 years. Over time, the risk for developing type 2 diabetes was greater in men and women with a lower magnesium intake. This important study supports the dietary recommendation to increase your consumption of major food sources of magnesium, and to supplement any shortfall in your diet with a good magnesium supplement such as AlgaeCal®.43
In the Iowa Women’s Health Study, an examination of almost 40,000 women, researchers also examined the association between magnesium intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes over an average of 6 years. Among women who were overweight, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was significantly greater among those with lower magnesium intake.45 Numerous other studies support diets high in magnesium containing foods and magnesium supplementation for diabetics or pre-diabetic conditions.
Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease
Magnesium is your key to insulin sensitivity and blood pressure regulation, and magnesium deficiency is common in individuals with diabetes. The associations between magnesium metabolism, diabetes, and hypertension increase the chances that magnesium influences cardiovascular disease.49
Some studies have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lowering your risk of coronary heart disease.50-51 Also, some dietary surveys have suggested that higher magnesium intake may reduce your risk of having a stroke.52 There is also evidence that low body stores of magnesium increases your risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which increases the risk of complications after a heart attack.4 These studies suggest that consuming recommended amounts of magnesium may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Several small studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may improve clinical outcomes in individuals with coronary disease. In one study, 50 men and women with stable coronary disease were randomized to receive either a placebo or a magnesium supplement that provided 342 mg magnesium twice daily. After 6 months, those who received the oral magnesium supplement were found to have improved exercise tolerance.54
In another study, researchers examined whether magnesium supplementation would add to the anti-clotting effects of aspirin in 42 coronary patients.55 For three months, each patient received either a placebo or a supplement with 400 mg of magnesium two to three times daily. After a four-week break without any treatment, treatment groups were reversed so that each person in the study then received the alternate treatment for three months. Researchers found that supplemental magnesium did provide an additional anti-clotting effect.
These studies are encouraging, but involved fairly small numbers. Additional studies are needed to better understand the relationships between magnesium intake and heart disease. Your doctor can test your magnesium status when above-mentioned medical problems occur, and determine your need for a magnesium supplement.
Osteoporosis Treatment Breakthrough!
To find out how much magnesium you are getting from your diet try our bone health calculator.
If you are not getting enough magnesium in your diet, you may need magnesium supplementation. Learn more about AlgaeCal Plus!