From the Desk of Carolyn Dean MD ND
Why isn’t the importance of magnesium in heart health more widely recognized? It’s because the FDA is not only the gatekeeper for defining what is healthy and what health claims can be made by dietary supplement companies.
- I just typed magnesium into the search engine on PubMed I came up with 121,283 entries.
- Magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the blood vessels in the heart, which can lead to heart attack.
- Magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the peripheral blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure.
- Magnesium prevents calcium buildup in cholesterol plaque in arteries, which leads to clogged arteries, atherosclerosis, and stroke.
- No health claims were allowed for magnesium until 2022.
After decades of intense lobbying the FDA, by my friend Dr. Andrea Rosanoff of The Center for Magnesium Education and Research, in January 2022 the FDA announced a “qualified” health claim for magnesium and reduced risk of high blood pressure.
In their usual Orwellian doublespeak, the FDA said that it “does not intend to object to the use of certain qualified health claims regarding the consumption of magnesium and a reduced risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), provided that the claims are appropriately worded to avoid misleading consumers.” Lord Sufferin’ Cats!
Ever Growing Evidence
A Review by Fox, et. al, back in 2001 accumulated 67 references and defined the ways magnesium can affect blood pressure:
- First, magnesium deficiency causes dysregulation of the sodium-magnesium exchange, resulting in higher intracellular sodium and, thus, higher blood pressure.
- Second, a relatively low magnesium level creates an intracellular imbalance between calcium and magnesium, which results in increased spasms in the smooth muscle of arteries and, therefore, increased blood pressure.
- Third, magnesium deficiency causes insulin resistance, which in turn causes hyperinsulinemia, resulting in hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.
Every year, the evidence associating magnesium deficiency and high blood pressure grows.
I think this first health claim is pivotal because I’ve been ranting about the blood pressure spiral for decades. It’s the mistaken diagnosis of high blood pressure instead of magnesium deficiency that traps people in the BP spiral. And the trap is even more sticky since high blood pressure, which used to be defined as 140/90 and is now 130/80, has caught more people in its web.
Here’s the scenario
Jack is 60, and he goes to his doctor for his annual checkup, but he’s been under tremendous stress. The doctor finds that his blood pressure is a little high, probably from stress, which causes magnesium depletion. It’s been a little high a few times in the past, so he is put on a diuretic drug. When he comes back for a follow-up, his blood pressure is higher. The doctor doesn’t know why, but it’s because Jack’s magnesium is driven even lower by the diuretic. His doctor thinks he’s caught Jack’s blood pressure early and has to get more aggressive. The doctor puts Jack on two more antihypertensive drugs.
A month later, seemingly out of the blue, but because of lower levels of magnesium caused by all three drugs, his cholesterol levels are elevated, and so is his blood sugar. The doctor, therefore, puts Jack on a statin drug and a diabetic drug. Both those drugs drain the body of more magnesium. And so, the story goes, as more and more magnesium is lost, the symptoms of magnesium deficiency escalate into full-blown heart failure. However, the real failure is because doctors fail to understand that they are causing magnesium-deficiency heart disease. And that’s why doctors don’t think heart disease can be cured and keep giving drugs earlier and earlier!
Please make all your friends and family aware of this trap and ensure you are saturated with picometer-sized, stabilized ionic magnesium to protect your heart and blood vessels.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future