It could make a huge difference in national health if Americans, across the board, upped their intake of magnesium. That conclusion is derived from a recent study out of China.

"On December 8, 2016 BMC Medicine published the results of a meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Zhejiang University in China which concluded that consuming a higher amount of magnesium is associated with a lower risk of heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality during up to 30 years of follow-up. The meta-analysis is the first to investigate the effect of dietary magnesium intake on the risk of heart failure and the first quantitative meta-analysis to examine the dose-response relationship between dietary magnesium intake and all-cause mortality."


“Fudi Wang of Zhejiang University’s School of Public Health and colleagues selected 40 publications that included a total of over a million subjects for their analysis. Food frequency questionnaire or dietary recall responses provided information concerning magnesium intake.”

“Over the studies' follow-up periods, 7,678 cases of cardiovascular disease, 6,845 cases of coronary heart disease, 701 cases of heart failure, 14,755 cases of stroke, 26,299 cases of type 2 diabetes and 10,983 deaths were documented. Each 100 milligram (mg) per day increase in magnesium intake was associated with a 22% reduction in heart failure risk, a 7% decrease in stroke risk, a 19% decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes and a 10% lower risk of dying from any cause.”

“In their discussion, the authors observe that, in comparison with oral supplements and intravenous infusions, increasing the intake of magnesium via the diet may only moderately increase magnesium levels. Although foods such as nuts, beans and whole grains are good sources of the mineral, the authors advise that the daily requirement for magnesium is difficult to achieve by consuming a single serving of any one food item.”

"Our meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence supporting a link between the role of magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease," Dr Wang stated. "Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency related health risks."

Dr. Cinque: Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in the human body after calcium. Besides being a structural mineral like calcium (where magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in bones) magnesium is high enzymatic. There are over 400 bio-chemical reactions in the human body that are dependent on magnesium as a co-factor, and there may be more that aren’t known. It is obvious from this study that magnesium deficiency is extremely common, and correcting it would ameliorate chronic degenerative diseases across the board. How tragic it is that something so plentiful and so accessible and so inexpensive could make such a big difference! What are we waiting for?

Magnesium occurs mainly in unrefined plant foods, particularly green vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Increasing these foods would be a very good idea. In fact, they are the foods that people should primarily be eating, with the addition of fruits. Everything else should be an afterthought.

But, as the article states, getting up to, say, 400 mgs magnesium a day may be hard for many people to reach even when they try to eat healthily. And note that most multis contain very little magnesium- not a meaningful amount- because it’s just too bulky to squeeze into multis.

So, what I do is keep a container of Mag Complete around which supplies 120 mgs magnesium per capsule. Its product number is CP1830. It contains several forms of very usable magnesium. And I take it at night before bed. The reason I do that is because magnesium is known to be relaxing- to the nerves and muscles. So, it can help with sleep. It doesn’t make you sleepy but it does help you relax so that you can fall asleep naturally. So, I take one before bed, and if I wake up during the night, I may take another. So, between that, and my natural foods diet, and the small amount of magnesium I get from my multi, I am sure I am getting plenty of magnesium.  

Really, it is an awful shame that people should be suffering and dying early because of a deficiency of magnesium. It’s a tragedy. It’s a matter of dying out of ignorance- and that may be not just patient ignorance but doctor ignorance. How many doctors are encouraging their patients to consume more magnesium to prevent diseases?

So, make sure that you are getting enough magnesium. It is extremely safe. The worst thing that will happen if you take too much is that you may get some loose stools- as in milk of magnesia. That’s right; in high amounts, magnesium is also used as a laxative.