Magnesium and Heart Health Are Linked.
You probably know you need calcium for your bones. You may also know you need potassium for your muscles. But did you know that magnesium is important for your heart health? Magnesium, a mineral, is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body. It helps keep bones strong, nerves and muscles working properly, and blood sugar under control. Magnesium is also necessary for maintaining a steady heartbeat and normal blood pressure. Read on to find sources of magnesium, and how much is enough for your heart’s health
2.Magnesium Helps Your Heart Keep the Beat
Magnesium is central to a healthy heart rhythm because it's involved in transporting other electrolytes, such as calcium and potassium, into cells. These are all important for nerve signals and the muscle contractions of a normal heartbeat. Research shows that magnesium deficiency — or restricting magnesium intake — increases irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias.
The Framingham heart study indicated that low levels of magnesium in the blood are associated with the most common heart rate disorder, atrial fibrillation (afib). This irregular heartbeat occurs when a malfunction in the heart's electrical system causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver.
3. Not Enough Magnesium? Your Heart May Suffer
More research is needed to determine when increasing magnesium intake can lead to heart health benefits. A review of 22 studies, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2012, suggested that magnesium supplementation could help lower blood pressure. Another report from 2014 showed that low levels of magnesium were associated with hypertension. Research also has demonstrated that low levels of magnesium in the blood are linked with risks for heart disease, particularly heart attack.
4. How Much Magnesium Is Enough?
Healthy adults should have about 25 grams (g) of magnesium in their body. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium — meaning the amount you should take in each day, varies depending on your age and gender. On average, the RDA is 400 milligrams (mg) for men 19 to 30 years old, and lower at 310 mg for women of that age. For those 31 and older, men should get 420 mg of magnesium daily and women 320 mg daily. If your health care provider suspects magnesium deficiency, a blood test will show the levels in your body. Normal blood levels of magnesium range from 1.7 to 2.3 mg/dL. Magnesium deficiency symptoms occur when your levels drop below 1 mg/dL.
5. Opt for Foods Rich in Magnesium
Experts have advised that you should get the nutrients you need primarily from food, and some common foods are rich sources of magnesium. Although magnesium is added to some foods, like breakfast cereal, excellent sources of this mineral include almonds, soy products like tofu, and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Just 1 ounce of dry roasted almonds provides 80 mg of magnesium, and a half-cup of boiled spinach provides 78 mg. Other great sources of magnesium include legumes, cashews, soymilk, black beans, avocado, and whole grains. One medium banana provides 32 mg of magnesium.
6. Your Body Regulates Magnesium Levels
Less than 1 percent of the body's magnesium is found in the blood. Most magnesium (up to 60 percent) is found in the bones. The rest is inside cells, notes Hugh Calkins, MD, of the Heart Rhythm Society and director of the clinical electrophysiology laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. This makes diagnosing magnesium deficiency difficult. In otherwise healthy people, however, a magnesium deficiency is uncommon, Dr. Calkins says, because the kidneys help control how much magnesium is in the body. When magnesium levels are low, less is excreted in the urine.
7. Who Is at Risk for Magnesium Deficiency?
Over time, low magnesium intake or excessive loss of this mineral can lead to a deficiency. But certain health conditions also deplete magnesium, including alcoholism, gastrointestinal diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Prolonged use of certain medications can also cause too much magnesium excretion. These include diuretics like furosemide (Lasix), as well as proton pump inhibitors, such as esomeprazole magnesium and lansoprazole used to treat GERD. Because older people are more likely to take these medications, they're at greater risk for a magnesium deficiency. With age, magnesium absorption in the body also decreases while the mineral’s excretion in the urine increases.
8. When to Reach for Magnesium Supplements
People diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency may need a supplement to avoid potentially serious effects, such as muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. But in most cases, magnesium supplements aren't necessary, Calkins said, and generally are not prescribed for heart health.
Too much magnesium that comes from food isn't dangerous because the kidneys excrete what the body doesn't need. However, high doses of magnesium from supplements can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping. Extreme doses of magnesium, over 5,000 mg daily, can be fatal. more