Dietary magnesium may lower risk of death from heart disease

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Death

Dietary magnesium may lower risk of death from heart disease
Increased intakes of magnesium in the diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality by about 50%, suggest new results from Japan.

Data collected over the course of 14.7 years from 58,615 healthy Japanese aged between 40 and 79 indicated similar reductions in the risk of individual cardiovascular events, such as stroke and coronary heart disease.

Writing in Atherosclerosis,​ the researchers state that magnesium’s heart benefits are biologically plausible, given a well-reported link between the mineral and improved blood pressure, including a recent meta-analysis in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition​.

Magnesium may also benefit heart health by suppressing irregular heartbeats, or by inhibiting inflammation, they added.


Dietary sources of magnesium include green, leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains and nuts, and milk. Earlier dietary surveys show that a large portion of adults does not meet the RDA for magnesium (320 mg per day for women and 420 mg per day for men).

Recently, scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden reported that, data pooled from seven prospective studies revealed that, for every 100 mg per day increase in magnesium intake, the risk of stroke was reduced by about 9% (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​).

Study details

Using data from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study, the researchers documented 2,690 deaths from cardiovascular disease over the course of almost 15 years, with the highest dietary intakes of magnesium linked to a 50% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease.

When the researchers factored in calcium and potassium weakened the link, but this may be because many of the magnesium-rich foods are also rich sources of calcium and potassium.

“It was difficult to determine whether the cardioprotective effects observed in this study were attributed repeatedly to dietary magnesium, calcium or potassium intake,”​ they said. “However, in the present study, reduced mortality from coronary heart disease, heart failure and total cardiovascular disease associated with dietary magnesium intake was maintained after dietary calcium intake was taken into account.”

Source: Atherosclerosis
Volume 221, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 587–595, doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.01.034
“Associations of dietary magnesium intake with mortality from cardiovascular disease: The JACC study”
Authors: W. Zhang, H. Iso, T. Ohira, C. Date, A. Tamakoshi, JACC Study Group

Related topics: Research, Minerals, Cardiovascular health

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Just Wait...

Posted by Joel Whitehurst,

Next Year you will cite a study showing that Magnesium intake CAUSES heart disease. Medical "studies" regularly, predictably contradict each other. I generally take them with a grain of salt. (Is NaCl good for people this year?)

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Heart Attacks

Posted by Kenneth Acushla,

I read this article back in the 1990s that Magnesium Foods protects the heart against heart Attacks. Psyllium, Wheat Germ, Wheat Bran, Brazil Nuts. I have had Arrythmatic Heart Beat Episodes since Easter 1995. Mg has kept my heart healthy and active even though I have a Stiffened Aortic Valve. It is so sad that doctors do not tell their patients about this but put them on Warfarin and Heparin. Doctors are A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES with their Misdiagnosing causing many Deaths, my wife in her 50s and daughter in her 30s both died as ai result.

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