Tags: magnesium | atherosclerosis | insulin | diabetes

Low Magnesium Hardens Arteries

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 04:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There is evidence that magnesium deficiency may play a role in atherosclerosis, also called hardening of the arteries. In one study that used experimental animals, magnesium supplementation inhibited the deposit of lipids in the walls of the aorta — that is, it inhibited plaque formation, a major factor in atherosclerosis.

In the bloodstream, about 60 percent of the magnesium comes in the form of a free ion and the rest is bound, mostly to a protein called albumin.

This makes a lot of difference when measuring magnesium to see how it relates to disease risk, and also explains why so many studies found no link between blood magnesium levels and various diseases.

To see if there was a relation between ionized magnesium and blood lipids (such as cholesterol), researchers examined 29 men with an average age of 72.5 years, who had impaired insulin sensitivity, a common condition in the elderly.

They found that the level of blood-ionized magnesium — but not total blood magnesium — correlated closely with levels of LDL (potentially harmful) cholesterol and total cholesterol.

Because magnesium is a powerful anti-inflammatory element, it would be expected to help prevent cholesterol from oxidizing; this may explain why it reduces atherosclerotic plaque in experimental animals.

In my research, I came across a study from 1959 that demonstrated some remarkable findings concerning the interrelationship between calcium and magnesium and atherosclerosis.

Researchers knew from previous studies that feeding animals large doses of magnesium markedly reduced the amounts of lipids deposited in the heart valves of the left side of the heart and in the aorta.

The atherogenic diet (one that causes atherosclerosis in animals) also increased the body’s demand for magnesium.

This study looked not only at lipid deposits in the wall and valves of the heart, but also calcium deposits in the kidneys, which are common in people with kidney disease associated with atherosclerosis.

They found that feeding the animals a high magnesium diet and moderate-to-high amounts of calcium prevented kidney damage, removed the calcium from the kidneys and heart, and prevented lipid deposits in the heart and its valves.

However, if the calcium intake was very low, the magnesium had no protective effects. What’s more, high-calcium intake did not cause problems as long as the magnesium intake was high.

The important observation here is that magnesium protected the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels even when the cholesterol was extremely high (much higher than seen in most people). But one must have an adequate intake of calcium — somewhere around 600 mg a day.

The earliest stage of atherosclerosis is called endothelial dysfunction. You’ll recall that the endothelium is the layer of cells that line arteries. These cells act as the brains of the blood vessel, regulating its opening and closing, thus regulating blood flow and — most importantly — preventing fats (lipids) from entering the wall of the blood vessel.

In the first stage of atherosclerosis, oxidized lipids enter the vessel wall. There is a close correlation between endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin becomes less effective at lowering the body’s blood sugar.

Insulin resistance is the precursor of Type 2 diabetes.

A recent study examined 657 women ages 43 to 69 from the Nurses Health Study, and found that higher magnesium intake significantly lowered the inflammation marker hsCRP as well as E-selectin, a molecule that indicates endothelial dysfunction.

Higher magnesium intake has also been shown to reverse insulin resistance. This means that taking in more magnesium can possibly stop diabetes before it starts.

Interestingly, researchers found that women with the highest magnesium intake were older, less likely to smoke, were physically active, and had a lower intake of trans-fats. While grains supplied the greatest amount of magnesium in their diet, the greatest effect on blood vessel inflammation came from green, leafy vegetables, and nuts.

Only green, leafy vegetables lowered elevated levels of interleukin-6, which are closely associated with heart failure.

Another study also found dramatic improvement in endothelial function with magnesium supplementation in 50 patients with coronary heart disease.

Magnesium is critical for the human body. It is essential for proper function of the heart and cardiovascular system, the muscles and nervous system, and every other tissue and organ in the body. And while the medical elite may overlook the importance of magnesium, you shouldn’t.

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In one study that used experimental animals, magnesium supplementation inhibited the deposit of lipids in the walls of the aorta — that is, it inhibited plaque formation, a major factor in atherosclerosis.
magnesium, atherosclerosis, insulin, diabetes
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 04:37 PM
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