We know that magnesium works with calcium to achieve the right chemical balance for your cells, muscles, and brain to function optimally. What we sometimes forget is that our hearts are muscles too! And that means they need magnesium just as much as our other muscles do.
Magnesium Deficiency and Heart Health
When you think about heart disease, most people think high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, but few think magnesium deficiency. Research has begun to indicate that magnesium deficiency may be linked to a number of heart health risk factors including high blood pressure, calcification of soft tissues, and arterial plaque build up. Andrea Rosanoff, PhD., and her colleagues have conducted a review over a number of years, dissecting cardiovascular disease research from as early as 1937.
Rosanoff’s research suggests that while historically physicians have placed the blame on diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol, the real culprit could be diets low in magnesium. She states that:
“By 1957 low magnesium was shown to be, strongly, convincingly, a cause of atherogenesis and the calcification of soft tissues. But this research was widely and immediately ignored as cholesterol and the high saturated-fat diet became the culprits to fight.”
Rosanhoff goes on to say that this ‘wrong turn’ so early in the discovery and research of heart disease lead to misinterpretations of the causes, despite the fact that more and more peer-reviewed research points to low magnesium in relation to known cardiovascular risk factors.
Over time, calcium intake has elevated across North America, but magnesium intake has not. This means that the calcium to magnesium ratio necessary for each mineral to do its job properly is increasingly skewed.
Based on what we know about the magnesium-calcium relationship, everything Rosanhoff is saying checks out. With its muscle relaxing effect, magnesium regulates metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and helps dilate arteries, all of which are key factors in promoting heart health.
The Calcium Question
Calcium has both positive and negative effects on the body, and it all has to do with its reciprocal relationship to magnesium. In the right amounts, the minerals work together to ensure optimal functioning at a cellular level. However, once they become unbalanced, these benefits can quickly become barriers, so understanding the way calcium interacts with the other substances around it is key to a healthy lifestyle.
Calcium is used for a number of tasks in the body, and aside from its role in bone health, it also is necessary for blood clotting and regulating blood pressure. But like we said, it’s all about balance. Magnesium and calcium work in tandem, which is why some people choose to take a magnesium/calcium blend supplement, instead of just one or the other.
Without magnesium, calcium isn’t absorbed properly, making your cells calcium deficient, and leading to dangerous calcium buildup. If untreated, this build up can lead to aortic valve stenosis, a condition which narrows the aortic valve and places strain on the heart.
Magnesium as Treatment
It has been observed that patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) are likely to be magnesium deficient, and the condition can worsen their clinical outcomes. It is for this reason that CHF is sometimes treated with magnesium in order to reduce the possibility of patients developing an abnormal heartbeat.
Because of its natural blood thinning properties, magnesium is also used to lower instances of strokes. Some studies also indicate that magnesium, if administered soon after a heart attack, could lower the risk of mortality. As far as prevention goes, studies have found magnesium to have significant potential to fight against cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, and atherosclerosis.
The bulk of the research surrounding magnesium and cardiovascular complications has to do with the multipurpose mineral as a preventative measure, as opposed to a treatment. More in depth studies are necessary to determine its full potential.
Taking the Right Preventative Measures
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, and author of The Magnesium Miracle, added to an ongoing dialogue about magnesium for cardiovascular health saying:
“That cholesterol is not the cause must be obvious, since heart disease is still the number one killer in America in spite of over two decades of statin use. The fact that low levels of magnesium are associated with all the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart arrhythmia, angina and heart attack can no longer be ignored; the evidence is much too compelling.”
The bottom line here is that supplementing magnesium could help prevent certain risk factors and development of some cardiovascular conditions. That said, Natural Calm does not take the place of an expert, so consult a medical professional for personalized advice based on your health.
The body’s ability to absorb magnesium decreases with age, as the possibility of heart complications increases. This means that it is even more important for older demographics to make sure their magnesium intake is adequate.
The recommended daily dosage is:
- For men between 19-30, 400mg per day, and 310mg per day for women the same age.
- Men older than that should get 420mg per day and women should get 320mg daily.
These amounts are difficult to receive through diet alone, and there are plenty of magnesium rich foods that could help you get there.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a daily Natural Calm Magnesium drink in one of 5 flavours and be set for the day!