In the United States about 77.9 million (1 out of every 3) adults have high blood pressure. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide. But there’s some good news… getting enough magnesium may help keep your blood pressure under control!
People in clinical studies that consumed ~350 mg of supplemental magnesium for 2-3 months have consistently showed improvements in blood pressure as compared with those on a placebo. This is not surprising given that people who consume high amounts of plant foods containing magnesium also show a decreased risk of heart disease.
Since magnesium supplements are safe and relatively low cost they could pose a practical opportunity to help hypertensive individuals lower their blood pressure in patients with hypertension. If you’re already consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, there is a likelihood that taking a supplement won’t have the same effect. Other compounds in fruits and vegetables can also help lower your blood pressure, so it’s good to get magnesium from the diet, when possible.
Magnesium has benefits beyond heart health. Several studies suggest that getting enough magnesium can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, a disease that affects more than 50% of adults over 50 years old. 50-60% of the body’s magnesium is actually stored your bones. Much like calcium, magnesium helps to keep your bones strong!
Magnesium is commonly found in plant foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains. Side
effects from getting too much magnesium from foods are not common, because the body excretes any excess in the urine. However, people who take too much magnesium from supplements can experience nausea,
diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Adults need to get about 320 mg (women) or 420 mg (men) of magnesium daily for good health. There really is no reason to supplement above 350 mg per day unless advised by your doctor.
Consumers – Check out the NIH fact sheet for consumers on magnesium (click here).
Health professionals – Check out the expert review on magnesium that I co-authored (click here).