Long-term RCT supports magnesium supplements for cardiovascular health

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto / vchal
Image © iStockPhoto / vchal

Related tags Magnesium

Twenty-four weeks of supplementation with a magnesium citrate complex may reduce the stiffness of arteries in overweight and obese adults, says a new study from The Netherlands.

A daily magnesium dose of 350 mg was associated with a 1.0 m/s reduction in carotid-to-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), which is considered the gold-standard method for measuring arterial stiffness.

“Results of longitudinal epidemiologic studies have estimated that the risk of cardiovascular events decreases by 14% when PWVc-f improves by 1.0 m/s, underlining the potential clinical relevance of these findings,”​ wrote the researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​.


The results add to an ever growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of the mineral. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists magnesium as being necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, from helping maintain normal muscle and nerve function, to keeping heart rhythm steady, supporting a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong. The mineral is also needed for blood sugar management, and healthy blood pressure.

The science and positive regulatory decisions have led to increased interest from consumers in magnesium and this has led to increasing sales. According to SPINS​, US sales of magnesium supplements across natural, specialty gourmet and conventional multi outlet channels grew 15.2% to $85,217,687 for the 52 weeks ending January 24, 2016, up from $73,993,936 from the previous 52 weeks.

And with 70-80% of the US population not meeting their recommended intakes of magnesium, the market is expected to continue to grow. Indeed, Todd Johnson, Director of Marketing for Albion Minerals, recently told us​: “According to market forecasts, we can expect magnesium sales in the nutrition market to surpass calcium by 2020.”

Study details

Image © iStockPhoto

The new study, conducted by researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center, the Top Institute of Food and Nutrition, and the University of Groningen, included 52 overweight and slightly obese individuals with a mean age of 62. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either the magnesium supplement (magnesium citrate complex, AMT Laboratories Inc.) or placebo for 24 weeks.

Results showed that changes in serum magnesium concentrations were not observable between the groups at 12 weeks, but there was a trend to increased levels in the magnesium group at 24 weeks.

Arterial stiffness, as measure by PWVc-f, was unchanged after 12 weeks of interventions, but significantly reduced in the magnesium group after 24 weeks, compared with the placebo group.

“To our knowledge, this is the first human intervention trial to demonstrate an improvement in arterial stiffness after magnesium supplementation,” ​wrote the researchers.

Importantly, the researchers also noted that no adverse events were observed during the trial.

Commenting on the potential mechanism of action, the researchers noted that magnesium may exert its beneficial effects by blocking the deposition of calcium in the walls of the arteries. However, because no changes were observed in calcium levels, nor were changes in potassium and sodium observed after 24 weeks of intervention, the effects of magnesium on PWV were not likely due to changes in these minerals.

“Alternative possible mechanisms to explain the beneficial effects of magnesium may relate to the postulated actions of magnesium on vascular tone, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative stress,” ​they wrote.

“In conclusion, our data indicate that an oral magnesium intervention for 24 weeks in overweight and slightly obese adults results in a clinically relevant reduction in arterial stiffness, suggesting a potential mechanism by which an increased magnesium intake beneficially affects cardiovascular health outcomes.”

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.116.131466
“Long-term magnesium supplementation improves arterial stiffness in overweight and obese adults: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial”

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