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Magnesium is an essential micronutrient and an important mineral found abundantly in the body in the bones, cellular fluid, and soft tissues. Magnesium is a cofactor for more than 300 biological processes in the body, including many enzymatic processes in the heart, and is responsible for a well-functioning heart.
A healthy heart is necessary for the overall health of a person and Magnesium is one important mineral that helps to keep the heart healthy. It has been found that Magnesium deficiency is increasing across the globe due to low intake and has become a serious risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Restoring healthy levels of Magnesium in the body can prevent and reduce heart problems such as cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac ischemia, sudden cardiac death, and hypertension. Magnesium intake can be increased naturally through a diet containing foods rich in and dietary supplements so that there is enough Magnesium in the body for the proper functioning of the heart.
What Is the Role of Magnesium in the Cardiovascular System?
Magnesium plays an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases acting both on the biochemical and the cellular levels.
Let us understand how Magnesium is involved in some of the enzymatic processes in the heart, required to help to keep the heartbeat and heart function healthy.
- Magnesium increases the cell permeability for sodium and calcium, which is very important for vital processes.
- Magnesium reduces hyper coagulopathy (An increased tendency for blood clotting inside the body) and thrombotic state.
- Magnesium helps in the prevention of cardiac arrhythmias.
- Magnesium is a cofactor for many enzymes in the heart tissue which help for the good functioning of the heart.
- Magnesium lowers lipids and fatty acids lower blood sugars and reduce atherosclerosis, which are the risk factors for developing heart diseases.
Do You Know About The 9 Health Benefits of Magnesium for Your Heart and Blood Pressure?
Enough levels of Magnesium in the body are really good for your heartbeat and your heart functions.
- Maintains healthy blood pressure and reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
- Reduces atherosclerosis which is a risk factor for clotting in blood vessels.
- Helps to maintain healthy endothelium in the blood vessels to prevent clotting which may lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Maintains normal healthy heartbeat necessary for normal functioning of the heart and prevents simple arrhythmias and life-threatening arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, ventricular premature complexes, and sudden cardiac death.
- Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the heart muscles, which affect the heart muscle contractions and reduces the risk for heart failure.
- Prevents cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart) in persons with Magnesium deficiency due to poor diet or chronic alcoholics.
- Helps to relieve symptoms caused due to mitral valve prolapse which occurs in older persons.
- Reduces the risk for myocardial ischemia or infarction (heart attack) and prevents angina (chest pain) by reducing thrombosis and coronary vasospasm.
- Helps in maintaining blood sugar levels, lipid levels, and prevents brain strokes, which conditions can increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
What Does Low Magnesium or Magnesium Deficiency Do to Our Cardiovascular System?
Magnesium deficiency in the body has some negative effects on the heart and the blood vessels leading to many cardiovascular diseases like:
1) Hypertension (High Blood Pressure):
- Magnesium regulates blood pressure as it is involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension by acting on the arterial smooth muscle contraction and vasospasm.
- It has been found in studies that Magnesium deficiency can cause a rise in blood pressure and Magnesium supplementation can lower blood pressure.
2) Cardiac Arrhythmias (Abnormal Heart Beat):
- Magnesium deficiency can cause fatal disorders of heartbeat and rhythm known as cardiac arrhythmias. Preventing arrhythmias is the essential role of Magnesium in the body.
- Abnormal conduction of electrical impulses changes the normal heart rate and rhythm and is due to the affected enzymatic process in the heart due to low levels of Magnesium.
- Mild cardiac arrhythmia when the heartbeat is low or high causes chest discomfort and palpitations in persons. Sometimes when the heart rate is very high it causes serious arrhythmias like ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation nor sudden cardiac death.
- Magnesium deficiency can cause premature ventricular contractions that can cause heart problems which can be life-threatening.
- Magnesium deficiency also causes a serious arrhythmia known as Torsades de pointes which can be treated with Magnesium.
- Magnesium is low levels, affects lipoprotein metabolism, and increases lipids (dyslipidemia) that contribute to increased atherosclerosis in the body, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Long-term Magnesium deficiency increases the risk factors like diabetes and hypertension which accelerate atherosclerosis.
- Magnesium is being used for the primary prevention of atherosclerosis.
4) Myocardial Ischemia or Infarction (Heart Attacks):
- Magnesium deficiency leads to many health issues like hypertension, thrombosis in blood vessels, calcification of soft tissues, dyslipidemia, which can contribute to coronary spasm or coronary thrombosis, which is responsible for myocardial ischemia or infarction.
- Magnesium is important for the action of the ventricular (heart) muscles. Magnesium controls the movement of calcium into the smooth muscle cells to cause contraction. In Magnesium deficiency, the guarding effect of Magnesium is not there and calcium floods into the cells causing hyper contraction of the muscle cells which may be responsible for angina or heart attack.
5) Mitral Valve Prolapse:
- Magnesium deficiency is associated with mitral valve prolapse and an increase in Magnesium intake reduces the symptoms of the disease like arrhythmias or cardiac failure.
6) Cardiomyopathy (Enlarged Heart):
- It has been found that those who take a Magnesium deficit diet and those who have low levels of Magnesium due to heavy consumption of alcohol for a long time are prone to develop cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy develops during or in the post-pregnancy period in some women.
- Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease where the heart gets enlarged and muscles get thicker making it hard to pump blood to the rest of the body which may lead to heart failure.
7) Congestive Cardiac Failure:
- Magnesium deficiency is associated with congestive heart failure and requires immediate treatment.
- Low levels of Magnesium can also cause low potassium levels which may cause ventricular arrhythmias and heart failure disturbing hemodynamic stability.
- Magnesium deficiency is found to affect the clinical outcomes in patients suffering from congestive cardiac failure.
8) Sudden Cardiac Death:
- Studies have shown that there has been a link between Magnesium deficiency and sudden cardiac death.
- Sudden cardiac death can occur secondary to Magnesium deficiency or secondary to cardiac arrhythmias or cardiac vasospasm.
- Magnesium is found to sensitize the myocardium to the toxic effects of various drugs or medicines and hypoxia (lack of oxygen)
- Magnesium deficiency affects the enzymatic processes in the heart and electrolyte imbalances, which can cause arrhythmias, vasospasm, and death.
How Do You Increase / Supplement Your Magnesium Intake?
Magnesium intake is increased through diet and dietary supplements. Magnesium intake can be increased naturally through a healthy diet that should contain foods rich in Magnesium like whole grains, legumes, bananas, apples, spinach, sea fish, eggs, milk, yogurt nuts, and oilseeds.
Magnesium supplements are available in many forms as oral preparations and topical preparations. The right choice of selecting the supplement can be made depending on the requirement. The commonly available Magnesium supplements over the counter are Magnesium glycinate, Magnesium chloride, Magnesium sulfate, Magnesium oxide, Magnesium gluconate, and Magnesium Malate.
Recommended daily allowance (RDA) for men is around 400-410mg and for women is 310-320mg.RDA for children above 9 yrs is 300mg. Always take Magnesium as per the recommended dose, with a prescription from your doctor, and do not exceed the dose as you may suffer from side effects like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Magnesium is a safe micronutrient and well-tolerated but to be taken as per the recommended dose. Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining a healthy heart. Magnesium is necessary to prevent many cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, and sudden cardiac death. Magnesium deficiency is known to cause dangerous cardiovascular events which are life-threatening. To reduce the risk factors like diabetes, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, and hypertension for cardiovascular diseases, intake of Magnesium is essential. Magnesium intake can be increased through foods rich in Magnesium and Magnesium supplements.