Overall, this essential mineral is been proven to prevent certain diseases, including high blood pressure and heart diseases. In addition, magnesium has been used to successfully treat other diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes, migraine headache, asthma, and toxemia in pregnancy. Here, in this article and in the next in my series, I focus on the best evidence.
1. High Blood Pressure
Large studies have linked high blood pressure and heart disease with soft water low in magnesium, and found that high magnesium lends protection against these conditions. There are, however, mixed results regarding the treatment of hypertension. Some studies reported a significant blood pressure-lowering effect, but others have not — one of them the large “Trial of Hypertension Prevention” study that followed 700 patients for six months
2. Heart Disease
In one large study involving 14,000 men and women, researchers found a significant ability for higher magnesium content to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in women, but not in men.
The most important study here involved more than 2,300 patients, given magnesium within one day of experiencing a heart attack — this successfully reduced the death rate. Then, even more telling, when they followed up with these patients one to five years later, the death rate was point 21% lower for those who had supplemented with magnesium.
But of course there’s always a study that ends up saying the opposite. A big placebo-controlled, double-blind study with 58,000 patients showed no significant reduction to the death rate within that same five-week period. Thus, the role of magnesium in heart attack remains a controversial topic.
A few studies have addressed the role of supplemental magnesium in preventing osteoporosis. One of them found that, in 900 elderly men and women, a higher dietary magnesium intake was associated with in increase in bone density at the hip in these individuals — important because hip fracture becomes a more serious problem as you grow older. Another study reported that magnesium
supplementation (750 mg a day for first six months, followed by 250 mg a day for the next 18 months) resulted in increased bone density at the wrist — but, after two years of taking supplements, there was no further increase.
In the next article, I’ll focus on diabetes, migraines and more. Read the previous part of this series by clicking here.