Heart Health

The Effects of Magnesium on the Heart

magnesium rich foods include; green leafy veggies, bananas, avocados, almonds

Think back to the moment when you were diagnosed with heart disease. Can you recall the information that the physician provided to you? It is presumed that you were advised to avoid cholesterol-laden foods, to steer clear of high fat dairy products and saturated fats and to watch your sodium intake. While this is very decent advice to give, most conventional doctors often fail to mention the importance of magnesium intake for heart health. Studies have shown that there is a huge correlation between patients with heart disease simultaneously having magnesium deficiencies. A book called “The Magnesium Factor” by Dr. Mildred Seelig, a well-known magnesium researcher, author and cardiologist, documents a decade-long study covering cardiovascular disease research that revealed how low magnesium levels contributed to more heart disease cases compared to cholesterol intake and saturated fat consumption¹. For those unaware, magnesium is one of seven macrominerals, and the fourth most abundant within the body that partakes in the creation of over 600 cellular reactions, DNA creations and muscle contractions. Regardless of its importance, Healthline reported that about 68% of Americans aren’t receiving enough of this mineral², which in turn, leads to the gradual rise of cardiovascular disease cases in the United States. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we test our patients for mineral deficiencies and suggest magnesium if results show low levels. But, what is the purpose of magnesium and why is it so important for heart health?

The Purpose of Magnesium for the Heart

As stated previously, magnesium is responsible for supporting muscle contractions within the body. Now, if we think of the one muscle that is constantly contracting, which one comes to mind? The heart is also a muscle and its primary function is to consistently contract in order to effectively pump blood throughout the cardiovascular system. Dr. Carolyn Dean of the Nutritional Magnesium Association (NMA) explained that magnesium is “the gatekeeper for calcium being allowed into muscle cells to cause contraction”¹ and assists in effectively ushering the calcium out. Calcium stimulates the muscle fibers to contract while magnesium helps to keep the cells calm. Together, calcium and magnesium formulate a system to ensure that the heart maintains a steady beat. Without the presence of magnesium, too much calcium can flood the cell and overstimulate it, causing hypercontraction. Over time, this can lead to potential heart conditions such as angina, strokes or heart attacks.

Benefits to the Cardiovascular System

While the mineral has a significant role in triggering a firm heartbeat, magnesium also provides a lot of health benefits to the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that those with type 2 diabetes have low magnesium levels, which ultimately causes insulin resistance. Our cells are important for regulating insulin and they need magnesium in order to do this effectively. When there is a lack of magnesium, cells can’t use insulin properly, thus causing high blood sugar levels. Additionally, research conducted from the National Library of Medicine concluded that magnesium supplementation reduced blood sugar levels in diabetics². Magnesium has also been shown to lower hypertension, reduce the risks of arrhythmia, and improves myocardial metabolism.

Ways to Increase Magnesium Intake

There are a few ways that one can increase their magnesium levels. One popular approach is by oral supplementation. Dr. Minkoff of LifeWorks Wellness Center highly encourages his patients to take BodyHealth’s CALM every night before going to sleep. The product enhances relaxation, increases magnesium levels and supports calcium balance. Other simple ways to increase magnesium intake is by consuming magnesium-rich foods. At LifeWorks, the magnesium foods that we suggest to our patients include:

  • Avocados
  • Tofu
  • Fish (Salmon, Pollock & Mackerel preferred)
  • Bananas
  • Leafy greens
  • Almonds
  • Mineral water
  • Edamame
  • Almonds
  • Protein Powder
  • Okra
  • Sweet Potato (with skin)

While other foods such as peanuts, grains, legumes and seeds are also filled with magnesium, LifeWorks does not recommend them since they can potentially cause inflammation within the body. All foods listed above are in accordance with the Paleo Diet, which is encouraged for a more natural plant-based lifestyle.

In Conclusion…

An article produced by Geriatric Medicine explained that doctors have suspected cholesterol and saturated fat levels as the main culprit of heart disease since the 1950s, despite the research that proved low magnesium levels were also congruent with the data¹. After years of prescribing medications to patients to help their cholesterol, this never generated significant evidence that it treated those with heart conditions. As a matter of fact, more people in 2021 are dying from heart disease compared to the 1950s. Therefore, while cholesterol levels are important to monitor, it’s not the main factor that is causing the problem. Additionally, with more patients taking calcium supplements, this only further adds to the issue.

Patients who suffer from ailments such as kidney disease may need to be careful with their magnesium intake. It is highly recommended that all patients should speak with a practitioner first before seeking magnesium supplementation. If you are at risk of cardiovascular disease, or currently suffer from it, please call LifeWorks Wellness Center at 727-466-6789 to schedule an appointment.

Helpful Heart Health Resources

  • Heart Health - our complete page on heart health / cardiovascular treatment.

About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.