Do you enjoy watching college basketball games during March Madness every year? We do!
Around here, we also like to focus on the importance of healthy magnesium supplements in March, which we call Magnesium Madness! Our first March blog post highlighted the beneficial effects of magnesium on insulin resistance, and the Magnesium Madness continues with our second blog post.
What is so mad about magnesium? Well, research shows that at least 48% but up to 75% of the population does not consume enough of this crucial mineral daily.1 Madness!
Optimal magnesium intake is vitally important for the health of your bones, mood, insulin levels, blood pressure, kidneys, heart, and other organs. It is so important that researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis that included over one million participants from 40 clinical studies. The researchers discovered that higher magnesium intake reduces the risk of stroke, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality. According to the analysis, increasing the intake of magnesium by 100mg per day could reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by 10%, stroke by 7%, type 2 diabetes by 19%, and heart failure by 22%.2
Continue reading to learn more about magnesium and the beneficial effects it has on your cardiovascular system, which might need extra support if exciting college basketball games tend to increase your blood pressure!
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and is required for the optimal function of over 600 enzymes. It maintains normal cellular function, plays a role in RNA and DNA synthesis, influences calcium levels, and supports healthy antioxidant levels. In your body, magnesium is primarily found in bones and teeth.3
Only 0.3% of total body magnesium is in the blood serum. So, measuring total or ionized magnesium levels in the blood does not always provide insight into total magnesium levels in the body. This fact makes it difficult to diagnose a magnesium deficiency. A deficiency is also a challenge to confirm because it can look like several other health conditions. Therefore, many people have a magnesium deficiency but do not know.3
Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include anxiety; weakness; agitation; depression; menstrual cramps; hyperactivity; headache; migraine; irritability; hearing issues; low stress tolerance; loss of appetite; nausea; insomnia and other sleep disorders; impaired athletic performance; muscle spasms; backaches; neck pain; urinary spasms; magnesium deficiency tetany; nervousness; increased sensitivity of NMDA receptors to excitatory neurotransmitters; nystagmus; paresthesia (numbness and tingling); poor memory; seizures; tremor; vertigo; constipation; cardiac arrhythmias; hypertension; coronary spasm; decreased heart pump function; digitalis sensitivity; torsade de pointes; hypokalemia (low potassium level); hypocalcemia (low calcium level); sodium retention; increased blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels; decreased glucose tolerance and altered glucose homeostasis; insulin resistance; increased risk of metabolic syndrome; disturbances of bone and vitamin D metabolism; resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH); low circulating levels of PTH; low circulating levels of 25(OH)D (Vitamin D); recurrence of calcium oxalate calculi (kidney stones); asthma; chronic fatigue syndrome; osteoporosis; thyroid dysfunction; and pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, premature labor, and eclampsia.4,5
So, if you have anxiety, insomnia, insulin resistance, fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, migraines, depression, high blood pressure, asthma, or any of the health concerns mentioned above, a magnesium deficiency might be the underlying cause of or a contributing factor to the health concern.*
Magnesium consumption, in general, has significantly decreased in the last few decades for many reasons, even though many foods are good sources of magnesium (Mg). As discussed in this interesting blog post, changes in dietary habits, removal of minerals during food processing, soil depletion, and other causes can contribute to suboptimal Mg intake in the population. Whole foods that are high in magnesium include almonds, bananas, black beans, broccoli, brown rice, cashews, yogurt, flaxseed, green vegetables (spinach), avocado, peanuts, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and soybeans.3,6,7
In addition to a low dietary intake of magnesium-rich foods, low or suboptimal magnesium (Mg) levels in the body can be caused by:
- Low intake due to:
- Alcohol dependence8
- Parenteral nutrition
- Health conditions that cause a redistribution of Mg in the body:
- Refeeding syndrome
- Hungry bone syndrome
- Treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis
- Acute pancreatitis
- Loss of Mg via the gastrointestinal (GI) tract due to:
- Nasogastric suction
- Small bowel bypass surgery
- Proton Pump Inhibitor medications (PPIs), such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, and pantoprazole
- Loss of Mg via urination due to:
- Bartter syndrome
- Gitelman syndrome
- Familial hypomagnesemia with hypercalciuria
- Medications, including thiazide diuretics, aminoglycoside antibiotics, amphotericin B, cisplatin, pentamidine, tacrolimus, and cyclosporine1
- Stress and high levels of stress hormones9
- Hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels)10
March Madness basketball games are known to increase heart rate and blood pressure, but celebrating Magnesium Madness with March Madness this year might decrease the stress on your heart.*
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is prolonged high blood pressure. When blood pressure is measured, it is a measurement of the pressure at which your blood pushes against the arterial walls as it flows through your arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from your heart to other organs and tissues.11
Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day in response to life circumstances. Blood pressure can be affected by nutritional, environmental, and behavioral factors, including weight, diet (Mg, sodium, and potassium intake), alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity levels, air pollution, noise, psychosocial stress, and the use of blood-pressure-lowering medications. Changes in any of these factors, such as increased dietary sodium intake or stress levels, can shift your blood pressure and potentially lead to the development of hypertension.12
Blood pressure measurements include two numbers:
- The first number is called systolic blood pressure, which reflects the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
- The second number is diastolic blood pressure, which reflects the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
Ideally, your blood pressure level will be 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or less. If your blood pressure is too high during at least two appointments, your doctor will probably diagnose you with hypertension, which increases your risk of developing several other health concerns, such as a heart attack or stroke.10 Hypertension is considered the strongest independent and modifiable risk factor for chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.13
Approximately half of all Americans have hypertension, and roughly 1 in 3 Americans who have hypertension do not know they have high blood pressure. Most people don’t have symptoms associated with high blood pressure until it causes other serious health problems, which is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year by your doctor.14
Magnesium and High Blood Pressure
Does magnesium lower blood pressure? Let’s find out by taking a look at the research!
According to research, there is a significant link between magnesium and blood pressure. Optimal magnesium levels may help support healthy blood pressure in multiple ways.*
Magnesium is known to:
- Act as a natural calcium channel blocker
- Support healthy endothelial function
- Increase nitric oxide and prostacyclin production
- Induce direct and indirect vasodilatation (blood vessel dilation)
- Alter vascular responses to endothelin-1, angiotensin II, and catecholamines, which cause vasoconstriction and increase blood pressure
- Directly or indirectly inhibit aldosterone production to reduce the reabsorption of sodium and fluid in the kidneys15
Epidemiologic studies highlight an inverse relationship between dietary Mg intake and the risk of hypertension. An inverse relationship means the lower the Mg intake, the higher the risk of developing hypertension. Clinical trials confirm magnesium supplementation supports healthy systolic and diastolic blood pressure in both men and women. Studies also show that gestational hypertension is related to a suboptimal dietary intake of magnesium during pregnancy.15
A thorough review article published in November 2021 suggests that optimizing dietary Mg intake in patients with hypertension could be a clinically effective recommendation. The authors also note increasing Mg intake by 100 mg daily is associated with a 5% reduction in the risk of developing hypertension.15
A suboptimal intake of Mg can adversely affect the cardiovascular system in other ways by contributing to the development and severity of other health conditions. In Sweden, research shows men who have a heart attack are more likely to survive when the Mg concentration in their drinking water is higher.15 Studies also suggest that Mg is effective in reducing the rate of heart attacks and strokes since an optimal level is essential for normal cardiac function. Mg stabilizes the rhythm of the heart and plays a role in the prevention of abnormal blood clotting.2,3 So, consuming optimal amounts of magnesium benefits your entire cardiovascular system.*
According to research, the most significant cardiovascular risk reduction occurs when Mg intake is increased from 150 mg to 400 mg per day. To achieve and maintain a healthy Mg status, consider consuming healthy foods that are high in Mg, supplementing with magnesium, and taking steps to reduce the loss of Mg from the body by managing stress to decrease stress hormone levels, reducing alcohol intake, supporting optimal insulin levels, and other healthy strategies.3
Magnesium fumarate is available in Fura-Mag
Trimagnesium dicitrate (magnesium citrate), magnesium bisglycinate (magnesium glycinate), and magnesium ascorbate are available in Magnesium3
Magnesium citrate and magnesium potassium citrate are available in Potassium+Mag
Magnesium ascorbate is available in Flavo PlexC
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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MAGNESIUM FOR MIGRAINE PREVENTION
Could magnesium reduce the frequency and severity of migraines? Let’s take a look at the research! In clinical trials, magnesium supplementation reduced the number of migraine attacks by 22 to 43%, while common medications recommended by the American Headache Society offer an approximate 30 to 60% reduction in migraine attack frequency. So, the effect of magnesium on migraines appears to be significant!
- Ahmed F, Mohammed A. Magnesium: The Forgotten Electrolyte-A Review on Hypomagnesemia. Med Sci (Basel). 2019;7(4):56. doi:10.3390/medsci7040056
- Fang X, Wang K, Han D, et al. Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Med. 2016;14(1):210. doi:10.1186/s12916-016-0742-z
- Razzaque MS. Magnesium: Are We Consuming Enough?. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1863. doi:10.3390/nu10121863
- Gröber U, Werner T, Vormann J, et al. Myth or Reality-Transdermal Magnesium?. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):813. doi:10.3390/nu9080813
- de Sousa Melo SR, Dos Santos LR, da Cunha Soares T, et al. Participation of Magnesium in the Secretion and Signaling Pathways of Insulin: an Updated Review. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2022;200(8):3545-3553. doi:10.1007/s12011-021-02966-x
- Samadian F, Dalili N, Jamalian A. Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent and Control Hypertension. Iran J Kidney Dis. 2016;10(5):237-263.
- Office of dietary supplements - magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/. Published June 2, 2022. Accessed February 13, 2023.
- Vanoni FO, Milani GP, Agostoni C, et al. Magnesium Metabolism in Chronic Alcohol-Use Disorder: Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2021;13(6):1959. doi:10.3390/nu13061959
- Pickering G, Mazur A, Trousselard M, et al. Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3672. doi:10.3390/nu12123672
- Gommers LM, Hoenderop JG, Bindels RJ, et al. Hypomagnesemia in Type 2 Diabetes: A Vicious Circle?. Diabetes. 2016;65(1):3-13. doi:10.2337/db15-1028
- High blood pressure symptoms and causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm. Published May 18, 2021. Accessed January 4, 2023.
- Zhou B, Perel P, Mensah GA, et al. Global epidemiology, health burden and effective interventions for elevated blood pressure and hypertension. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2021;18(11):785-802. doi:10.1038/s41569-021-00559-8
- Pelczyńska M, Moszak M, Bogdański P. The Role of Magnesium in the Pathogenesis of Metabolic Disorders. Nutrients. 2022;14(9):1714. doi:10.3390/nu14091714
- What is high blood pressure. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure. Published March 24, 2022. Accessed January 4, 2023.
- Banjanin N, Belojevic G. Relationship of dietary magnesium intake and serum magnesium with hypertension: a review. Magnes Res. 2021;34(4):166-171. doi:10.1684/mrh.2021.0492
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