Magnesium Intake Associated with Decreased Arterial Calcification

A study published in November 2013 reports that increased magnesium intake is related to lower arterial calcification. Calcification within the arteries is a measure of the burden of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a systemic disease process in which fatty deposits, inflammation, cells and scar tissue build up within the walls of arteries, and is the underlying cause of the majority of clinical cardiovascular events.

Investigators evaluated 2,695 subjects with an average age of 53 years without cardiovascular disease using Multi-Detector Computed Tomography of the heart and abdomen to assess coronary artery and abdominal aortic calcification. The subjects completed food frequency questionnaires to determine magnesium intake as well as calcium, vitamins D, vitamin K, saturated fat, fiber, alcohol and energy intake. The researchers collected additional data including age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, blood pressure, fasting insulin, total-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio, use of hormone replacement therapy and menopausal status among women and treatment for high blood pressure and lipids, diabetes or cardiovascular disease prevention.

The researchers determined that a 50 mg per day increment in magnesium intake was associated with 22 percent lower coronary artery calcification and 12 percent lower abdominal aortic calcification. Additionally, the investigators showed that the subjects with the highest magnesium intake had 58 percent lower odds of having any coronary artery calcification and 34 percent lower likelihood of having abdominal aortic calcification compared to the subjects with the lowest magnesium intake. The researchers found that the association was stronger among women than in men.

The investigators stated, “In community-dwelling participants free of cardiovascular disease, self-reported magnesium intake was inversely associated with arterial calcification, which may play a contributing role in magnesium’s protective associations in stroke and fatal coronary heart disease.”

Hruby A, et al. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2013 Nov 20. [Epub ahead of print.]


Magnesium Intake Related to Mortality in Subjects with High Cardiovascular Risk

The Journal of Nutrition reported in November 2013 that increased magnesium intake is associated with decreased mortality in subjects at high cardiovascular risk. The American Heart Association states that cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 32.3 percent of all deaths in the U.S. equaling approximately one out of three deaths.

The subjects included 7,216 adults 55-80 years of age at high risk for cardiovascular disease with high average magnesium intake. The researchers assigned the subjects either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or olive oil or a low-fat control diet. The investigators followed the subjects for an average of 4.8 years to assess mortality.

During the follow-up period, the researchers identified 323 total deaths, including 81 cardiovascular deaths and 130 cancer deaths, as well as 277 cardiovascular events. The investigators determined that increased magnesium intake was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular, cancer and all-cause mortality. The subjects with the highest magnesium intake had a 34 percent reduction in mortality risk compared to the subjects with the lowest intake.

The study authors concluded, “Dietary magnesium intake was inversely associated with mortality risk in Mediterranean individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease.”


Guasch-Ferre M, et al. J Nutr. 2013 Nov 20. [Epub ahead of print.]

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