Can Magnesium Regulate Blood Pressure? by Nicole Crane, BS, NTP
Written by Nicole Crane BS, NTP
In the United States alone, 72 million adults (nearly one third of all people over the tender age of 20) have high blood pressure, according to the National Heart and Lung Association. Worldwide, the number of people expected to have elevated blood pressure has been estimated to climb to 1.56 billion by 2025. When blood pressure remains uncontrolled, it can have serious consequences like damage to the heart, arteries and other organs. This can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other heart diseases like congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis (fatty buildup in arteries causing hardening of the arteries), peripheral artery disease and other heart and vascular problems. Over time, high blood pressure can also do damage to the kidneys, allow for fluid to accumulate in the lungs and affect the healthy flow of blood to the brain and around the body. Having normal, healthy blood pressure is an important aspect of overall wellness.
A meta-analysis, funded by the Indiana University School of Medicine Strategic Research Initiative found results that show a positive association between a daily intake of magnesium and a reduction in blood pressure. Data from 34 clinical trials, a total of 2,028 participants, was collected for the analysis. Researchers found that those participants who had a median of 368mg of magnesium daily for an average of 3 months, recorded a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 2.00mg Hg and a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 1.78 mm Hg. “With its relative safety and low cost, magnesium supplements could be considered as an option for lowering blood pressure in high-risk persons or hypertension patients,” says Yiqing Song, Md. Sc.D, lead author of the study. [Read the meta-analysis by clicking here!]
Magnesium is an essential nutrient required for the basic functioning of over 320 different enzymes. But Magnesium really shines when it comes to heart health and supporting normal blood pressure. Every time the heart beats, calcium is what causes the heart to constrict, but it is magnesium that allows the heart to relax again and fully fill back up with blood. If the heart muscle does not get to relax in between beats, it can have a negative effect on heart rhythm, blood pressure and overall heart muscle function.
Magnesium deficiency has numerous health consequences, including increasing the risk of a cardiac event, like a heart attack or stroke. A 2013 study followed 5,511 men and women for an average of 7.6 years linked consuming the recommended daily intake of magnesium (350 – 450 mg) to healthy blood pressure. This study found that the highest levels of urinary magnesium loss, which is reflective of a higher magnesium intake, corresponded to a 25% reduction in risk of hypertension. Many studies have demonstrated similar results. A 10 year study of over 28,000 healthy female health professionals over the age of 45 show the benefits of magnesium for the heart. Women with the highest intake of magnesium (434 mg daily on average) had the healthiest levels of blood pressure compared to women with the lowest intake of magnesium (256 mg on average). Those who had a high intake of magnesium had a 7% lower risk of developing hypertension when no history of high blood pressure or heart disease was present. Magnesium is a vital nutrient for protecting the heart, brain and the rest of the body.
As essential as magnesium is for health, it can be difficult to get enough from food alone. Nuts and seeds, beans and leafy greens are all good sources, but have anti-nutrients like phytates and oxylates that prevent optimal absorption of this important mineral. Magnesium supplements for many are the simplest, most effective way to meet daily magnesium needs. Avoid oxide forms and seek out citrate and glycinate forms, which offer much better absorption. Men need at least 425 mg daily and women need at least 325 mg, but those who have chronic stress often require much more.
Magnesium & High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be very dangerous to ignore. Dubbed the “Silent Killer” because it has little to no symptoms, hypertension takes a huge toll on the heart and the rest of the body. Good nutrition can address the root of this serious health issue. With intakes of magnesium on a steady decline for the last several decades, it is quite possible that deficiency of these precious minerals is an overlooked contributor to hypertension. Magnesium is a mineral that most of us just do not get enough of, for several reasons. Only 25% of U.S. adults eat enough vegetables, our soil is depleted of minerals and many of us have stress that depletes the body of this vital mineral. Magnesium can be safely taken with most medications, including those for high blood pressure. These essential electrolyte minerals support the heart in a fundamental way, but are also essential for our bodies to function properly at the cellular level. When internal biochemistry is balanced and well supported, the whole body is healthier and feels vibrant. The road to good health is paved with potassium and magnesium. Are you getting enough?