Could a magnesium deficiency increase your risk of dying?


Every organ in your body needs magnesium and a deficiency can lead to serious illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders and kidney stones, as well as joint and muscle pains.

New research has now revealed a link between low levels of of this essential mineral and a greater risk of dying from any cause, during a follow-up period of up to 40 years.

The study included data from 14,343 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study. Serum magnesium concentrations were measured upon enrollment between 1971 and 1975. Mortality data was available through 2011.

There were 9,012 deaths during an average follow-up of 28.6 years. In comparison with subjects whose levels were between 0.8 and 0.89 micromoles per litre (mmol/L), having a deficient level of less than 0.7 mmol/L was associated with an adjusted 34 per cent greater risk of dying over follow-up.

Those with magnesium levels of less than 0.7 mmol/L had more than two and a half times the risk of dying from stroke than subjects with levels of 0.8-0.89 mmol/L. Further analysis also found the strongest protective association in men.

Commenting on the findings, the researchers, led by Xi Zhang of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, said: “Several mechanisms may explain the beneficial effects of magnesium, including maintaining glucose and insulin homeostasis, improving lipid metabolism, enhancing the vascular or myocardial contractility and vasodilation, and providing antiarrhythmic and antiplatelet effects. Moreover, several small secondary prevention randomised trials have shown that oral magnesium supplementation improved endothelial function, reduced thrombosis, and increased cardiopulmonary function and left ventricular ejection fraction among cardiovascular disease patients.”

“Our findings support the hypothesis that serum magnesium may be clinically useful for predicting long-term health outcomes and mortality in the general population,” they concluded.

What makes these research findings particularly worrying is that magnesium deficiency is rapidly gaining recognition as a widespread health problem.While many foods contain this health-protective mineral – such as whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, spinach and molasses – intensive agriculture has depleted most soils of magnesium so that crops grown today contain far less of this mineral than they did 50 years ago.

As a result, around 70 per cent of us consume less than the EU recommended daily amount (RDA) of magnesium in our diet, which is 300mg for men and 270mg for women. Worse still, many experts see these levels as woefully inadequate to prevent all but the most serious effects of magnesium deficiency and, if you are already magnesium deficient, you will need much more than the RDA to replenish your reserves and get your health back.

In your October issue, JNHS brought you a report on a new supplement called Magnesium Phospholipid Complex, which contains magnesium in easily bioavailable citrate and bisglycinate forms. It also contains phosphatidylserine from sunflower lecithin, which like magnesium is also crucial for heart and brain health. The recommended dosage of Magnesium Phospholipid Complex is one capsule, three times daily, with a meal.

Here's to your good health,

Rachael Linkie
Managing Editor
Journal Of Natural Health Solutions

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Clinical Nutrition, 30 August 2017

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