My new best friend Dr. James J DiNicolantonio, who wrote The Salt Fix, has been popping up all over the place. And he does seem to be a friend of magnesium. His latest paper is called “Decreased Magnesium Status May Mediate the Increased Cardiovascular Risk Associated with Calcium Supplementation.” A translation of that title reads: Taking calcium supplements without magnesium can increase heart disease risk. Researchers have said that calcium supplements increase the heart disease risk of women, but nobody I’ve read blames magnesium deficiency.
I’ve been railing against excessive calcium supplementation for decades and recent pro magnesium studies support my concerns. However, they don’t go far enough to solve the magnesium deficiency problem that the population faces. Even Dr. DiNicolantonio. He begins by saying that the literature about calcium supplementation is confusing and contradictory. That’s when he decided to look at the effects of calcium intake on magnesium status and vice versa.
He confirms that “A great deal of recent epidemiology, including meta-analyses, points to higher dietary magnesium intakes, and/or higher serum magnesium levels, as associated with reduced risk for vascular events, arrhythmias, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, vascular calcification and mortality.”
He adds that “Moreover, short-term studies of magnesium supplementation in persons at high cardiovascular risk have often found protective effects, particularly in those with low baseline magnesium status. Notably, in patients with coronary disease, magnesium supplementation has been found to decrease ex vivo platelet-dependent thrombosis, increase flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery and during exercise, increase exercise tolerance, VO2max and left ventricular ejection fraction.”
Also, magnesium compares favorably to drug intervention for high blood pressure, which is of huge importance. “A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled studies evaluating the impact of supplemental magnesium on treated hypertensives with baseline systolic pressure >155 mm Hg, found a mean reduction of 18.7 and 10.9 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively, with high statistical significance.”
He theorized that since “magnesium antagonizes some of the proinflammatory effects of increased cytoplasmic calcium” – and mentioned that magnesium has sometimes been referred to as ‘nature’s physiological calcium blocker’. Also he mentions that “The apparent ability of good magnesium status to diminish risk for vascular calcification is intriguing in light of recent epidemiology pointing to increased risk of coronary calcification in people using calcium supplements.”
That’s all very well and good but when it comes time to recommend taking magnesium supplements and avoiding calcium, we are thrown right back to the dark ages. DiNicolantonio agrees with “authorities (that) recommend a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium as most appropriate, both for supplementation and the total daily intake.” He remarks that “the calcium supplements featured in pharmacies and supermarkets—where most people shop—typically feature only calcium and vitamin D.” He comments that “Research and promotional efforts sponsored by the dairy industry have insured that calcium is highly valued by the general public, whereas magnesium, no less crucial to health, is essentially an ‘orphan nutrient’, lacking the advocacy of commercial interests.”
And, like most researchers, he end by calling for more clinical studies. However, as I say in my Magnesium Miracle book “We can’t wait for a multimillion-dollar clinical trial to ‘prove’ that magnesium is a necessary nutrient. We have enough research showing its therapeutic value, its safety and efficacy. What’s more, people can do their own personal clinical trial by following their Magnesium RBC test results and taking magnesium as they watch their symptoms subside.”
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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