Nutritional deficiencies cause a wide variety of symptoms and ailments, but are also involved in cardiovascular disease. Nutrients play an important role in heart function.
A healthy diet usually provides people with the necessary nutrients. Supplements may also help for those who are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. Talking with a dietitian or doctor can improve dietary habits for the proper amounts of nutrients.
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These five nutrient deficiencies can lead to cardiovascular disease:
1. Magnesium deficiency
is associated with higher cardiovascular disease deaths, researchers reported in the November 2011 issue of Atherosclerosis
Magnesium is essential for heart health, muscles, kidneys, and other organs throughout the body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center
. Research has linked a lower risk of cardiovascular disease with higher intake of magnesium for men, and increased dietary intake of magnesium appears to reduce the risk of heart attack death in women. Doctors use magnesium intravenously on patients with congestive heart failure to prevent heart arrhythmia.
Magnesium deficiency also may be involved in high blood pressure, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. A higher intake of magnesium reduced the risk of high blood pressure in a study of 8,500 women. Some studies show magnesium supplements help lower blood pressure.
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2. Low levels of Vitamin D
increase the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, which are associated with cardiovascular disease, explains Dr. Erin Michos, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital
. Studies also suggest vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, and peripheral arterial disease. Michos says it is not clear if increasing levels of the vitamin will prevent heart problems.
3. Calcium deficiency
is associated with abnormal heart rhythms, which could be related to heart disease. Calcium helps the heart, muscles, and nerves, Healthline notes
. Deficiencies may also lead to osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones, and convulsions.
4. Low levels of potassium
could cause heart rhythm disruptions and muscle weakness, Harvard Medical School reports
. Potassium helps control the electrical balance of the heart. Potassium supplements help if levels are too low, but excessive levels could lead to heartbeat irregularities and even death. Discussing potassium levels and needs with a doctor helps to restore normal levels.
5. Lack of B vitamins
has been linked to cardiovascular disease, WebMD says
. Japanese researchers found that men who consumed higher amounts of folate and vitamin B-6 had fewer deaths from heart failure than those with low levels in their diet. Women had fewer deaths from heart disease, cardiovascular deaths, and stroke with higher amounts of folate and vitamin B-6 in their diets.
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