George Batista Jr

MAGNESIUM’S MANY HEART-HEALTH BENEFITS


Strokes and heart disease can go hand in hand. Stroke is a risk factor for heart disease and heart disease can put you at risk of developing a stroke. According to the American Heart Association, people with heart disease, angina (chest pain) or those who’ve had a heart attack due to hardening of the arteries have more than double the chance of having a stroke.

A stroke is when the blood supply to a part of the brain is severely reduced, which deprives that section of the brain of vital oxygen and nutrients. As a result, brain cells die. A stroke is considered a medical emergency, and prompt attention is required. The earlier the action, the less chance of permanent brain damage.

Risk factors for stroke and heart disease include physical inactivity, poor diet, being overweight, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Deficiencies of nutrients such as magnesium can also put someone at risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Magnesium is a must
According to Wellness Times editorial advisor Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, while we may think of magnesium as a bone-health nutrient, an increasing amount of research is showing that this mineral is vital to many different body functions, including healthy heart function. High sources of magnesium include wheat bran, spinach and nuts such as almonds, cashews and peanuts.

In February 2012, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an analysis of seven studies involving more than 240,000 participants in Sweden. The researchers found that for every 100 mg increase of magnesium intake, the risk of strokes caused by blood clots in the brain was reduced by 8 percent.

Magnesium has become a common mineral deficiency in the United States. For more information on magnesium deficiency, click here. According to Dean, in the 1900s, people got about 500 mg of magnesium per day, but because of soil depletion, food processing and other factors, the average daily intake is now only about 175 mg per day.

“A burst or clot-blocked blood vessel in the brain is all it takes to cause a stroke that results in the destruction of critical brain functioning,” explains Dean, who is also the medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association (www.nutritionalmagnesium.org). “Stroke is said to be caused by hypertension, atherosclerosis and/or diabetic complications, all of which are associated with magnesium deficiency.”

How about high blood pressure?
A key risk factor for stroke and heart disease is high blood pressure. An analysis published in February 2012 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated 141 studies involving magnesium’s effect on blood pressure. The researchers found that magnesium supplementation produced a “clinically significant reduction” in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic pressure is the amount of pressure that the blood puts on the vessels while the heart is beating, and diastolic is the amount of blood pressure between heartbeats while the heart is resting. Systolic is the top, larger number and diastolic is the lower, smaller number in a blood pressure reading. Normal blood pressure is a top number below 120 and a bottom number below 80.


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