A groundbreaking review of cardiovascular disease research studies dating back to as early as 1937 finds that low magnesium levels—not cholesterol or saturated fat intake—are the greatest predictor of all aspects of heart disease.
Noted research scientist and author Andrea Rosanoff , PhD, who conducted the comprehensive review, which has been ongoing for over 10 years, and which builds upon the work begun by Mildred Seelig , MD, who studied the relationship of magnesium to cardiovascular disease for over 40 years, says, "These numerous studies have found low magnesium to be associated with all known cardiovascular risk factors, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure, arterial plaque build-up (atherogenesis), hardening of the arteries and the calcification of soft tissues. This means we have been chasing our tails all of these years going after cholesterol and the high saturated-fat diet, when the true culprit was and still is low magnesium."
According to Dr. Rosanoff, "By 1957 low magnesium was shown to be, strongly, convincingly, a cause of atherogenesis and the calcification of soft tissues. But this research was widely and immediately ignored as cholesterol and the high saturated-fat diet became the culprits to fight.
"Ever since this early 'wrong turn,'" states Rosanoff, "more and more peer-reviewed research has shown that low magnesium is associated with all known cardiovascular risk factors, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure.
"Additionally, after decades of rising dietary calcium intake not balanced with rising dietary magnesium intake, and a population wherein a majority of U.S. adults are not getting their daily magnesium requirement, dietary calcium-to-magnesium ratios are on the rise, and studies are showing that calcium supplements not balanced with magnesium increase the risk of heart disease," says Rosanoff.
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, and Medical Advisory Board member of the nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association (nutritionalmagnesium.org), adds, "That cholesterol is not the cause must be obvious, since heart disease is still the number one killer in America in spite of over two decades of statin use. The fact that low levels of magnesium are associated with all the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease—hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart arrhythmia, angina and heart attack—can no longer be ignored; the evidence is much too compelling."
Ashley Koff, RD, celebrity dietitian, Prevention magazine advisory board member and founder of AKA (AshleyKoffApproved.com) lists, states, "In the last decade, magnesium rightfully has received greater attention as a critical nutrient for optimal health. This review secures magnesium, and correcting levels of magnesium intake, as one of the most critical health recommendations today.
"There are many challenges to achieving adequate intake of magnesium in the modern diet; thus I consider magnesium part of the essential nutrients to supplement daily and—in light of this review, specifically—crucial to preventing cardiovascular disease across patient populations."
"Magnesium is essential for helping regulate metabolism, and it helps lower blood pressure and dilate arteries," says Dr. Mehmet Oz, Emmy Award–winning host of the nationally syndicated talk show “The Dr. Oz Show,” and vice-chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University. He adds, "Three out of every four of you watching [‘The Dr. Oz Show’] right now across this great country are not getting the amount of magnesium that you need. You are magnesium deficient."
How much magnesium is enough? The World Health Organization recommends 400 to 500 mg of calcium. Dr. Dean recommends "a 1:1 balance of calcium with magnesium, while also taking into account the amount of calcium people get in their daily diets." She also says, "Add low doses of vitamin D and incorporate vitamin K2, and all of these measures combined will protect your bones as well as your heart."