Who would have thought that magnesium would be so beneficial to the heart and cardiovascular system? Well, as it turns out, when magnesium-rich foods are part of our everyday diet, we can help protect our bodies from strokes according to scientists.
Magnesium is healthy in many other ways. Research finds that magnesium reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes. It is also required for vitamin D metabolism. Magnesium also helps combat the flu and COPD according to other research.
Magnesium-rich foods and strokes studied
Researchers from Sweden’s National Institute of Environmental Medicine have found that eating foods rich in dietary magnesium reduces the risk of stroke. The researchers analyzed human clinical studies from 1966 through 2011 that associated dietary magnesium consumption with stroke incidence.
A total of seven studies provided the most relevant and conclusive evidence. These seven studies followed a total of 250,000 people within the U.S. for an average of eleven and a half years. Of this population, there were 6,477 stroke victims.
The research analysis revealed conclusively that eating magnesium-rich foods reduced the incidence of stroke. Eating the equivalent of 100 milligrams more of magnesium per day within foods reduced stroke incidence by 8%.
While the reduced risk was characterized by the researchers as “modest,” over a broad range of studies, a consistently positive association is considered more conclusive and “statistically significant.” The data revealed an even more significant reduction in ischemic stroke with higher magnesium intake.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In 2013, another analysis of magnesium studies was done. This study analyzed 8 studies that included 304,551 people and 8,367 stroke cases. The researchers found that for every 100 milligrams of magnesium intake, there was an incremental reduction in the risk of having a stroke. This study also followed dietary magnesium – meaning magnesium from foods.
How much magnesium should we consume?
USDA recommendations for magnesium consumption are 420 milligrams for men over 31 years old, and 320 for women over 31 years old. The study showed that U.S. adults eat the equivalent of about 242 milligrams per day of magnesium on average.
At the same time, many experts will caution people about taking too much magnesium, capping the supplemental magnesium at about 400 milligrams. When the dietary magnesium is added, this will put the daily dose in the 600+ milligrams area, which is plenty.
Dr. Susanna Larsson, a professor at the Swedish Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and the lead researcher in the study, told Reuters Health that the results suggest people eat a diet of “magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains.”
She was reluctant to suggest that people take magnesium supplements, simply because the study followed the effects of magnesium content in foods, rather than supplemental magnesium.
Magnesium and other minerals such as calcium have been found to sometimes not be absorbed as well in supplement form as from foods – depending, of course, on the form of the supplement.
Learn more about a nutrient-dense foods:
Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Dietary calcium intake and risk of stroke: a dose-response meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):951-7. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.052449.
Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Dietary magnesium intake and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec 28.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.