Magnesium and Cardiovascular Health
A strong connection has been drawn between magnesium deficiency and cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, mitral valve prolapse, irregular heart rhythms, and fatal heart attacks.
The role of magnesium in the following processes is well documented:
• Maintains regular heartbeat and muscle tone, and prevents muscle spasms of the arteries.
• Prevents the loss of potassium.
• Decreases serum triglycerides and increases the “good” cholesterol known as HDL.
• Prevents the harmful effects of stress on the heart.
• In some people it is able to decrease the blood pressure.
• Prevents the “stickiness” of red blood cells, allowing the blood to flow much easier.
The United States Recommended Daily Allowance for adults of magnesium is 400mg. It is estimated, however, that the typical American diet provides only 120mg./1000Kcal. At this level the average American is receiving approximately half of the RDA for magnesium.
Proper magnesium intake is vital for the growth, development, and maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system. The following checklist can be used to assess one’s need for greater magnesium in the diet.
FACTORS ADVERSELY AFFECTING THE MAGNESIUM LEVELS IN THE BODY
• High dietary concentration of refined, processed, or cooked foods. (Magnesium is refined out of foods during processing and cooking removes magnesium).
• History of chronic diarrhea and/or vomiting.
• Presence of any of the following diseases: Diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney malfunction, arteriosclerosis.
• Poor thyroid function.
• High dietary intake of fats.
• High blood cholesterol with high dietary protein.
• Use of diuretics.
• Consumption of alcohol.
• High dietary intake of calcium, phosphate, and lactose (lactose is the sugar found in milk). Milk and magnesium-rich foods should not be consumed together.
• High stress lifestyle.
• Intake of “soft” drinking water.
FOODS CONTAINING MAGNESIUM FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST
Reference: Reed, P.B. Nutrition – An Applied Science, West Publishing Co., L.A. 1980, pg. 343