High Blood Pressure (HBP) or hypertension is also known as ‘the silent killer’.
With no discernible symptoms, and the potential to shut down the heart if left untreated, hypertension is a life-threatening condition. 1 in 3 Canadian adults have HBP, yet, sadly, many are unaware until a cardiac episode reveals the story of their heart’s true condition.
Hypertension is measured by the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls as it pumps, known as systolic pressure, and diastolic pressure measured between beats when the heart is at rest. If blood pressure rises and stays consistently high, it causes damage to the heart, blood vessels and even the kidneys.
Magnesium for High Blood Pressure
Magnesium deficiency, or hypomagnesemia, is common especially in women and elderly groups. It has been suggested that this condition contributes to the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Studies have demonstrated how magnesium participates in the regulation of vascular tone, endothelial function, vascular inflammation, and glucose and lipid metabolism (1). Magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker in the cells, improving dysfunction of the inner lining of blood vessels in hypertensive and diabetic patients (2).
Studies have demonstrated that magnesium participates in the regulation of vascular tone, endothelial function, vascular inflammation, and glucose and lipid metabolism (1). As a key mineral for blood pressure, magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker in the cells, improving dysfunction of the inner lining of blood vessels in hypertensive and diabetic patients (2). Magnesium also acts as a natural diuretic, ridding the body of excess water and sodium that can cause high blood pressure.
A magnesium intake of 500 to 1000 mg per day may reduce blood pressure as much as 5.6 ⁄ 2.8 mm Hg. Many experts believe that magnesium supplementation should be the first line of defence against hypertension prior to initiating any prescription drug regimen. A combination of increased levels of magnesium and potassium along with reduced sodium in the diet has been proven more effective in reducing blood pressure than antihypertensive drugs alone (3).
In the U.S., application of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was shown to lower blood pressure in patients with stage 1 hypertension and high-normal blood pressure. The DASH diet, which emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, high fibre, and low-fat dairy products, also includes large amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, dietary fibre, and protein. In a study conducted by the DASH research group, it was shown that the combination of a low sodium intake and the proposed diet had greater effects on lowering blood pressure than either intervention alone (4).
Exercise is also an excellent way to reduce blood pressure levels. It is recommended to include routines of yoga or meditation in your daily life to lower stress levels that contribute to hypertension. Through diet, adequate magnesium intake and physical activity, hypertension can be prevented.
- LACK OF ASSOCIATION BETWEEN SERUM MAGNESIUM AND THE RISKS OF HYPERTENSION AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE. Abigail May Khan, MD, Lisa Sullivan, Ph.D., Elizabeth McCabe, MS, ScM, Daniel Levy, MD, Ramachandran S. Vasan, MD, and Thomas J. Wang, MD. 4, 2010, Am Heart J., Vol. 160, pp. 715-720. [PMC]
- Complementary vascular-protective actions of magnesium and taurine: a rationale for magnesium taurate. McCarty, M.F. 2, Med Hypotheses, Vol. 46, pp. 89-100. [PubMed]
- The Role of Magnesium in Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease. Houston, Mark. 11, The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, Vol. 13. [PubMed]
- EFFECTS ON BLOOD PRESSURE OF REDUCED DIETARY SODIUM AND THE. The DASH–SODIUM Collaborative Research Group. 1, 2001, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 344. [PubMed]