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News - Magnesium reduces heart failure risk

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

Dietary sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, beans, pulses and nuts and seeds. However, dietary survey data shows that a large portion of adults do not meet the recommended 375mg/day allowance for this essential nutrient. 

Magnesium is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and may be particularly important for cardiovascular health. A review carried out in 2009 found that increased intakes of magnesium may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in men, but, until recently, evidence has been lacking for women. Now, a new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has found that increased intakes of magnesium are also associated with a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death in women.

The Boston-based researchers analysed 26 years’ worth of data from 88,375 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study to investigate the relationship between magnesium intake and sudden death from heart failure. After adjusting the data for a range of factors that could potentially affect the results, like smoking, age and presence of cardiovascular disease, the scientists found the highest dietary intakes of the mineral were associated with a 37% reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death, compared with the lowest average intakes. In addition, analysis of the blood test results showed that every 0.25 milligram per decilitre increase in blood magnesium level was also associated with a 41% reduction in the risk of sudden heart failure.

“In this prospective cohort of women, higher plasma concentrations and dietary magnesium intakes were associated with lower risks of sudden cardiac death. If the observed association is causal, interventions directed at increasing dietary or plasma magnesium might lower the risk of sudden cardiac death”, concluded the researchers.

Article References

Chiuve SE et al. Plasma and dietary magnesium and risk of sudden cardiac death in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [Epub ahead of print] 2010.

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