For decades, we have known that the American diet is dramatically magnesium deficient because of food processing. In fact, we get less than half the amount of magnesium found in an unprocessed Chinese diet. As magnesium is critical in over 300 reactions in the body including those for heart and blood vessel health, this is a major problem. In fact, studies done over many decades have shown that even the lower levels of magnesium found in soft water versus hard water is associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attacks and deaths!
This new study showed that low levels of magnesium can also increase the risk of stroke by 25% (from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study). This was largely due to the magnesium decreasing the risk of hypertension and diabetes. Over 14,000 men and women aged between 45 and 64 took part in the study, and during the course of 15 years of follow-up the researchers documented 577 cases of ischemic stroke. Blood levels of magnesium were negatively associated with the risk of stroke, they said, with magnesium levels of 1.6, 1.7, and 1.8 mEq/L linked to a 22, 30, and 25 percent reduction in stroke, respectively, compared to 1.5 mEq/L.
Let's put this in perspective. Cholesterol-lowering medicines only decrease heart attack deaths by 1.2% with the medications being both expensive and toxic. Magnesium is cheap and will leave you feeling much better. The only side effect would be occasional diarrhea, and this can be avoided by using sustained-release magnesium, which does not cause diarrhea. A good multivitamin powder also contains 200 mg of magnesium daily.
Magnesium deficiency is probably the most single important additional deficiency in the United States and the Western world. Optimizing magnesium intake (e.g., adding 200-500 mg a day using the vitamin powder or Jigsaw magnesium) may offer major protection to heart and brain function. Now that the sustained-release magnesium is available, people can finally get optimal magnesium — without getting diarrhea!
American Journal of Epidemiology. Published online ahead of print, 16 April 2009, doi:10.1093/aje/kwp071. "Serum and Dietary Magnesium and Risk of Ischemic Stroke — The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study." Authors: T. Ohira, J.M. Peacock, H. Iso, L.E. Chambless, W.D. Rosamond, A.R. Folsom
Click here to see more information on the study.