LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Magnesium expert and author Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, warns that magnesium deficiency in the earth's soil and, by extension, magnesium deficiency in an individual's diet plays a significant role in heart disease, arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation.
As a validation of the vital role of magnesium as an intervention in heart arrhythmia, the UK-based Arrhythmia Alliance has given its 2012 Award for Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management Services to Dr. Dean.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) causes approximately one out of every five deaths in the United States. About every 25 seconds an American will have a coronary event, and about every minute someone will die from one.
"Despite the fact that magnesium is vital to having a healthy heart, between the depletion of minerals in our soils and our mineral-depleted diet, most Americans do not get the RDA for magnesium. This leaves 70–80 percent of Americans with a magnesium deficiency at a cellular level," says Dr. Dean.
Clinical studies have shown that cellular magnesium deficiency has direct consequences for both the heart and the blood vessels. These include
- heart rate variability, which could be one of the mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases;1
- arteriosclerosis (stiffening and inflexibility of the blood vessels);2
- constriction of the arteries and spasms in blood vessels;3
- high blood pressure;4,5
- angina (chest pain due to heart disease);6
- myocardial infarction (damage to heart cells—better known as a heart attack) due to ischemic heart disease (an insufficient flow of oxygenated blood to the heart), which is associated with too much calcium and not enough magnesium in heart cells;7
- sudden-death ischemic heart disease;8
- the formation of blood clots within blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack or stroke;9
- heart valve disorders such as mitral valve prolapse.10
Dr. Dean, Medical Advisory Board Member of the nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association, says most people, including the majority of MDs, do not understand how vital magnesium is for the prevention of heart attack and heart disease. According to Dean, "In spite of, or perhaps because of, the over 300 metabolic processes that rely on magnesium, less than 1 percent of our body's total magnesium can be measured in our blood; the rest is busily occupied in the cells and tissues or holding our bones together. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to make an accurate assessment of the level of magnesium in various body tissue cells using a routine serum magnesium test. This test is often called a total serum magnesium test, which you might imagine relates to all the magnesium in your body—but it does not.
Magnesium in the blood does not correlate with the amount of magnesium in other parts of your body. In fact, if you are under the stress of various ailments, your body pumps magnesium out of the cells and into the blood, giving the mistaken appearance of normality on testing in spite of body-wide depletion. Unfortunately, most magnesium evaluations done in hospitals and in laboratories use the antiquated serum magnesium test."
Dr. Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, cites nine key points to know about magnesium and heart health:
- "The heart is a very large muscle. Calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. If the body is deficient in magnesium, the heart can go into spasm causing a fatal heart attack; beat erratically causing arrhythmia; or beat too slowly (bradycardia) or too quickly (tachycardia)."
- "Magnesium helps prevent blood clot formation and muscle spasms of the heart blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack. One major cause of angina is spasms of the heart's coronary arteries, which are lined with smooth muscles that react to a deficiency of magnesium."
- "Magnesium helps prevent muscle spasms of the peripheral blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, another risk factor of heart disease."
- "Magnesium helps prevent calcium buildup in cholesterol plaque in arteries, which leads to calcification, or hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis—the number one cause of death in the US)."
- "Your body requires magnesium to maintain healthy elastin, which provides essential elasticity in your arteries. Loss of elasticity is a risk factor for heart disease. Loss of elasticity causes inflammation of heart blood vessels, which interferes with blood flow and leads to heart disease."
- "Magnesium deficiency symptoms include leg cramps, eye twitching, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, racing heart, and chest pain."
- "High blood pressure can cause stroke and heart attack. Tension in the smooth muscle of blood vessels throughout the body due to magnesium deficiency is a major cause of high blood pressure."
- "Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, allowing the proper amounts of calcium in balance with magnesium for a healthy heart."
- "Magnesium is a natural statin (anticholesterol medication). It is necessary for the activity of an enzyme that lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and raises good cholesterol (HDL)."
Andrea Rosanoff, PhD and co-author of The Magnesium Factor, concurs with Dr. Dean, stating, "Clinical studies show that treatment with magnesium, taken at the right time and in the right amount, can lessen heart disease risk factors and even save lives."
Dr. Dean recommends monitoring calcium intake and supplementing with magnesium, "and going for an even calcium-magnesium balance."
A 32-page guide to the benefits of magnesium and how to support a healthy heart is available as a free download at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.
For media inquiries, contact Boris Levitsky at (714) 605-1100.
The nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association (NMA) is a trusted authority on the subject of magnesium deficiency and provides timely and useful information so as to improve the lives of all people affected by the widespread magnesium deficiency in their diets and the related health issues associated with this deficiency. Radio, TV, magazines and professional journals interview its members regularly. For more information, go to www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.
1. Kim YH, KI Jung, CH Song. 2012, Oct 11. "Effects of serum calcium and magnesium on heart rate variability in adult women." Biol Trace Elem Res.
2. Maier JA. 2012, May. "Endothelial cells and magnesium: implications in atherosclerosis." Clin Sci (Lond) 122 (9): 397–407.
3. Altura BM. 1979, Aug. "Sudden-death ischemic heart disease and dietary magnesium intake: is the target site coronary vascular smooth muscle?" Med Hypotheses 5 (8): 843–48.
4. Kisters K et al. 1999. "Hypomagnesaemia, borderline hypertension and hyperlipidaemia." Magnesium Bull 21:31–34.
5. Altura BM, BT Altura et al. 1984. "Magnesium deficiency and hypertension: correlation between magnesium-deficient diets and microcirculatory changes in situ." Science 223 (4642): 1315–17.
6. Pierce JB. 1994. Heart Healthy Magnesium: Your Nutritional Key to Cardiovascular Wellness. New York: Avery Publishing Group.
7. Liao F, AR Folsom. 1998. "Is low magnesium concentration a risk factor for coronary heart disease? The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study." Am Heart J 136 (3): 480–90.
8. See note 3 above.
9. Shechter M et al. 2000. "Beneficial antithrombotic effects of the association of pharmacological oral magnesium therapy with aspirin in coronary heart disease patients." Magnes Research 13 (4): 275–84.
10. Seelig MS, 1998. "Review and hypothesis: might patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome have latent tetany of magnesium deficiency." J Chron Fatigue Syndr 4:77–108.
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SOURCE Nutritional Magnesium Association