I’ve always been a big fan of magnesium because it’s such a multi-tasking tool for good health. So it wasn’t surprising when my eye caught a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on magnesium’s ability to significantly slash the risk of sudden cardiac death.1
First a little background on this marvelous mineral. Magnesium is an essential mineral that is required to sustain healthy blood vessels, generate cellular energy, and maintain healthy nerve and muscle function.
Known as the relaxation mineral because of its ability to relax muscle spasms, magnesium is required for more than 300 critical biochemical reactions throughout the body and it’s especially important to heart health.
Magnesium slashed heart attack death risk by 41%!
Dropping dead from a heart attack or other cardiac event is a leading cause of death in those over 40. But it doesn’t have to be.
This study shows that people who have high amounts of magnesium circulating through their blood stream are 41 percent less likely to die of a heart attack compared to those with low levels.
Magnesium is necessary to relax blood vessels and arteries while maintaining normal blood pressure. Low magnesium levels have also been linked to the development of foamy plaque on the inner lining of the coronary arteries as well as thickening of the artery walls.2
High levels, on the other hand, can decrease arterial wall thickness and stiffness by 42 percent.3
But if you’re relying on your diet to supply you with this important mineral, let me tell you right now that you aren’t get enough.
Food today has less magnesium
The sad fact is that the food sold in supermarkets today has 75 percent less magnesium than the foods your grandparents ate. Even if that weren’t the case, cooking and processing depletes magnesium. This means that 80 percent of Americans don’t have enough magnesium in their bodies to do all the tasks that require this mineral.
I find some of my patients get so excited about taking magnesium they jump right in and don’t build up their dose gradually. Taking too much magnesium when you aren’t used to it can create a laxative effect you weren’t expecting.
To prevent this, I think it’s important to start with a lower dose of 150 to 200 mg. and build up to 400 mg. once or twice a day until your bowel movements are comfortably loose.
The best way to make sure you’re getting the magnesium you need is with a supplement. The minimum dose I prescribe is 400 mg. per day. But many people need more than that.
To determine if you need more than the standard dose, I recommend working with a nutritionally-minded health-care provider.
1. Peacock JM. Serum magnesium and risk of sudden cardiac death in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. American Heart Journal. 2010;160: 464-470.
2. Adrian M. A long-term moderate magnesium-deficient diet aggravates cardiovascular risks associated with aging and increases mortality in rats. Journal of Hypertension. 2008;26:44-52.
3. King JL. Inadequate dietary magnesium intake increases atherosceroritic plaque development in rabbits. Nutrition Research. 2009;29:343-349.
Dr. David J. Blyweiss began his medical career as a clinical pharmacist in South Florida prior to earning his medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine in 1982.
His dual background allowed him to appreciate the relevance of conventional pharmaceutical/surgical based treatments in acute medical conditions, and recognize where these approaches fell short in treating the majority of patients who suffered from the chronic degenerative diseases of "western civilization origin."
Over the last twenty years, with the nutritional medical knowledge base expanding in the fields of nutrigenomics, protemics, and other related "orthomolecular" disciplines directed towards patients' biochemical individuality, Dr. Blyweiss became an early adherent and experienced practitioner of what would become known as "functional medicine." This knowledge allows him to effectively manage and alleviate the symptoms related to the most "difficult-to-treat" conditions by addressing the underlying causes, allowing the body to heal itself.
Dr. Blyweiss was one of the initial researchers doing the early work on chlorhexidine (Phisohex) while earning his first post graduate degree at Temple University School of Pharmacy. During medical school he worked with the WHO (World Health Organization) in vaccinating children in the islands of the Carribbean. He has traveled much of the world, most recently to Belize, Central America, Gabon, Africa, and Zagreb, Croatia working closely with teams of specialists to identify new plant life and natural products for possible human benefit as well as researchers and their stem cell transplantation teams. He has consulted for and created state-of-the-art nutritional supplements for multiple nutritional companies since 1999. He is currently in private practice in South Florida where he resides with his family.
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