Magnesium, Heart Attacks, and Electrolytes

Magnesium appears to be an incredibly popular nutrient amongst many in the nutrition community. It’s nearly unfettered acclaim is almost odd, given that for nearly every food or nutrient there seems to be some group, however small, that disputes what the majority believes its health effects to be. Surely magnesium produces profound improvements to insulin sensitivity and, to some degree, brings about other health benefits. Magnesium is even one of the few supplements I take from time to time. However, is magnesium’s good reputation truly without reproach?

Today let’s look at a study from 1993:

Galløe AM, Rasmussen HS, Jørgensen LN, Aurup P, Balsløv S, Cintin C, Graudal N, McNair P. Influence of oral magnesium supplementation on cardiac events among survivors of an acute myocardial infarction. BMJ. 1993 Sep 4;307(6904):585-7.

This is one of the few long term studies on oral magnesium. 468 heart attack survivors were given either 360 mg of magnesium or a placebo for one year. Did this mineral help prevent future heart problems?

No. In fact, although not statistically significant, those taking the magnesium supplement had roughly 30-40% more heart attacks and about 40-50% more “cardiac events”.

The question is, why? Honestly, I don’t know. Personally, I think an imbalance of electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium, etc.) can be problematic. I hope to explore this in the future.

Calcium: A Compendium

Calcium is very important for the proper functioning of the human body, notable for its role in cell signaling, muscle contraction (including the heart–a fairly important muscle), neurotransmitter release from neurons, enzyme-mediated processes like blood clotting, and as a structural component of bone and teeth (1, 2). Continue reading