Tuesday, March 26, 2013. An article published online on March 13, 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports the finding of researchers in the Netherlands of an association between higher urinary magnesium levels and a lower risk of ischemic heart disease.
The study included 7,664 men and women enrolled in the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease (PREVEND) study, which is a prospective investigation of albuminuria and renal and cardiovascular disease among residents of Groningen, Netherlands. Urinary magnesium excretion levels from samples obtained upon enrollment from 1997 to 1998 were utilized as a marker of magnesium intake. The subjects were followed for a median of 10.5 years, during which 462 ischemic heart disease events occurred.
Men and women whose urinary magnesium was among the lowest 20% of subjects had an increase in the risk of ischemic heart disease that was 60% higher than the remainder of the participants, and a risk of fatal ischemic heart disease that was 70% higher. Authors Michel M. Joosten and his colleagues remark that reduced magnesium intake can result in cardiac arrhythmias that can cause sudden cardiac death. Additionally, magnesium helps inhibit platelet aggregation and enhance the synthesis of nitric oxide, which helps relax the blood vessels. Furthermore, increased magnesium intake has been associated with a lower risk of diabetes—a disease that significantly elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Low urinary magnesium excretion as a marker of low dietary magnesium uptake was associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease in this prospective cohort of men and women,” the authors conclude. “Given the substantial number of individuals who have inadequate magnesium intakes, an increased consumption of magnesium-rich foods, particularly by those with the lowest urinary magnesium excretion, may be a promising approach for the primary prevention of ischemic heart disease.