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Shereen Jegtvig, MS

Dietary Magnesium and Stroke Risk

By January 24, 2012

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A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition came to the conclusion that dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with the risk of ischemic stroke (these are the strokes caused by blood clots in the brain). The authors performed a meta-analysis, which is a type of study that involves taking the data from previous similar studies and combining them. The authors of the study used the data from seven previous studies and determined that an increased intake of 100 milligrams magnesium per day was associated with an 8 - 9 percent decreased risk of ischemic stroke. Eight or nine percent may not sound like much, but according to the Internet Stroke Center, stroke is the third highest cause of death in the United States and of those strokes, 88 percent are ischemic strokes, so something as simple as increasing a dietary mineral could be quite significant.

So this could be a good thing, but, it's important to keep a couple of things in mind with this study. The authors of this study looked at dietary intake of magnesium so it doesn't indicate that taking magnesium supplements will have the same decrease in risk, and it's important (I think) to understand that magnesium deficiency symptoms are uncommon. Also, it's possible that the reduction of stroke risk is caused by other factors besides the actual magnesium since foods that contain magnesium are generally healthy fiber-rich foods - things like whole grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Still, I believe it adds some evidence to the idea that eating magnesium-rich plant-based foods is important for good health.

Comments
January 25, 2012 at 11:09 am
(1) dave says:

I have been taking magnesium for sometime now for help in relieving my tense muscles from anxiety and stress. I never knew that magnesium also helps prevent strokes. I believe that most people are deficient in magnesium unless you are eating lots of green veggies and nuts all day.

Vitamin b6 is also another important vitamin for good health.

January 25, 2012 at 11:35 am
(2) France Ricordi says:

Can Magnesium (Natural CALM) can be taken diary every night without calcium or is in need of calcium and Vit D?

January 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm
(3) Catherine says:

@Dave I’m glad to see this question, Dave. There is a widely held misconception that calcium must be taken with magnesium. The truth is that there needs to be enough mag and calcium in the body for either to be properly assimilated but taking them at the same time puts each in a position of competing against the other for assimilation. As long as there is no deficit in either there will be no problems.

Speaking of deficits, it is said that approximately 60% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This makes it impossible to assimilate and utilize calcium. The more calcium you take, the worse this situation becomes. It is most usual to see calcium and magnesium recommended in a 2:1 ratio. The average American diet contains a fair amount of calcium but too little magnesium. By reversing the ratio to 1:2, you’ll find a better balance for good health. When a person is not getting enough magnesium it interferes with the body’s use of calcium. Without enough magnesium, calcium will be leached from the bones. It will also be stored improperly in tissues. Diet plays a big role in this.

This is a topic that could be talked about for months.

January 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm
(4) Jean says:

Unless one buys organic produce it is hard to get enough magnesium because commercial produce is woefully lacking in vital minerals because commercial soils are very depleted of natural nutrients. Nuts are a good source of magnesium. Magnesium oxide is the most available magnesium supplement but this form of magnesium is only 4percent absorbed. Magnesium citrate or magnesium taurate or magnesium glycinate is more absorbable but is more expensive. Magnesium supplements can have a laxative effect so proceed slowly.

January 26, 2012 at 9:19 am
(5) elvira walker says:

There are sooo many takes on Magnesium, and Calcium. I have read that both Magnesium and Calcium play off of each other. I have also read that they can be taken together. In fact, there are cal/mag vitamins that can be purchased. Now, I am seeing here that if taken together, they vie for placement. I always take my Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium together during dinner. Magnesium helps to ensure that Calcium gets to the cells to do its job. I take a ration of 2:1 Magnesium to Calcium. Since I am thyroidless, I test every 2-3 months to see if my body is getting enough of these minerals. My tests assures me that I am taking them in the correct way. We cannot generalize when it comes to taking vitamins and minerals. All vitamins and minerals are not created equal. We must find what is best for us. Everyone does not assimilate the same.

January 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm
(6) Shereen Jegtvig says:

Taking supplemental magnesium at the same time as calcium can reduce the amounts absorbed, but not substantially – so it’s common to formulate supplements with the two together. I’ve been told that the convenience of taking the two in the same tablet or capsule is worth the small loss of absorption.

January 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm
(7) Kelcey says:

Besides eating lots of veggies and nuts, I have been taking my magnesium topically since oral supplements cause can cause diarrhea. I have also found this to be great on my muscles after a hard workout.

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