magnesium and heart diseaseMagnesium is probably the greatest predictor of all aspects of heart disease. Approximately more than 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in more than 350 enzymes in the body and is involved in virtually every metabolic process occurring in the body.

Previous studies have suggested an association between low serum magnesium levels and cardiovascular disease. Low magnesium intake has also been associated with future risk of hypertension and stroke. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that low serum magnesium is associated with vascular calcification, but there have been no studies examining a relationship to coronary artery calcification.

In this study, researchers analyzed 34,553 participants who underwent coronary multi-detector computed tomography and serum magnesium level measurement in 2010–2012 as part of a health examination program. According to analysis, low serum magnesium was associated with coronary artery calcification after adjustment for age, sex, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, eGFR, serum calcium and phosphorus, hs-CRP, current smoking status, alcohol intake and vigorous exercise frequency.

Low serum magnesium was significantly associated with coronary artery calcification for those at low risk for developing cardiovascular disease. This association was significant after adjustment for various risk factors related to cardiovascular disease and was even withheld in groups without risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Keep in mind serum magnesium only represents only 1% of magnesium stores. Magnesium is homeostatically controlled in the serum and measuring serum magnesium levels provides many false negatives. By the time your serum magnesium is low, you are very deficient as the body cannot maintain the serum magnesium levels. RBC magnesium is definitely better and the most accurate test we have. This can be done by most laboratories.

There have been decades of increasing dietary calcium intake that has not balanced with rising dietary magnesium intake, and as a result the majority of adults have become magnesium deficient. Dietary calcium-to-magnesium ratios have continued to increase and studies are showing that calcium supplements not balanced with magnesium increase the risk of heart disease.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: Lee S, Hyun Y, Lee B, Kim, H. Low serum magnesium is associated with coronary artery calcification in a Korean population at low risk for cardiovascular disease. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. November 2015, Volume 25, Issue 11, pages 1056-1061.

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