A new study from Spain says that people at a high risk of cardiovascular disease may reduce their risk of dying by increasing magnesium intakes.
In the prospective study, 7,216 men and women at a high risk of cardiovascular disease aged between 55 and 80 followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or olive oil or a low-fat control diet (1). Over almost five years, participants’ magnesium intakes were estimated and death cases were documented. The study results showed that participants with the highest average intakes of magnesium (442 mg/day) showed a 59% reduction in cardiovascular mortality, a 37% reduction in cancer mortality, and a 34% reduction in all-cause mortality, compared to participants with the lowest average intakes (312 mg/day).
The researchers commented that multiple mechanisms could have a beneficial effect on lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and death: magnesium can lower blood pressure, inhibit platelet aggregation, mo- dulate inflammation and improve endothelial function (2, 3). Intake of magnesium was also reported to reduce insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is a potential risk factor for cancer (4). The researchers acknowledged that magnesium is an isolated nutrient, and it is important to investigate the associations between the whole diet and health.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued positive opinions on magnesium and the maintenance of normal bone, teeth, and protein synthesis, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, electrolyte balance, normal energy-yielding metabolism, neurotransmission and muscle contraction (5). The US National Institu- tes of Health (NIH) states that magnesium helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong (6). In addition, the mineral is needed for blood sugar management and healthy blood pressure. However, statistics show that between 70% and 80% of the US population are not meeting their recommended intakes of magnesium (7).