12 January - 20 June 2016

Dietary magnesium and risk of cardiovascular disease

17 July 13

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have published results of a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the association of circulating and dietary magnesium with the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), ischemic heart disease (IHD) and fatal IHD.   The study combined data from 313,041 individuals.  The results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition identified a significant association between circulating and dietary magnesium and the risk of CVD results.  Incremental circulating magnesium levels of 0.2 mmol/L were associated with a 30% lower risk of CVD, with trends toward a lower risk of IHD and fatal IHD.  These results are supported by evidence from observational studies and small intervention trials showing that magnesium may improve vascular tone and endothelial function, reduce platelet aggregation, increase HDL, improve glucose homeostasis, and lower the risk of stroke.  Dietary magnesium was associated with a 22% lower risk of IHD and showed a nonlinear association with fatal IHD, with a 27% lower risk up to a threshold of 250mg/d compared with lower intake.  Mozaffarian et al from the Harvard School of Public Health believe that their results provide the best available evidence of how circulating and dietary magnesium may influence CVD risk.  By combining all available data across all categories of exposure of each study, the researchers increased the validity of the dose-response estimates, maximised statistical power and were able to evaluated potential nonlinear associations. The findings support the importance of dietary recommendations to increase magnesium-rich foods including whole grains, nuts/seeds, and vegetables, which are also good sources of other nutrients.

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