Magnesium and Heart Health

by Stacey Bell, PhD


Magnesium is a hot topic in nutrition today. Most of you know that it is an essential nutrient and involved in 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Half of the body’s magnesium is in the bone to support the inner matrix. Magnesium also helps control blood pressure and blood sugar, and gives you energy. 

A newly published research study on magnesium intake and heart health study showed that the more you eat, the healthier your heart is. This was based on a review of more than 2,000 articles. 

High blood levels of magnesium are associated with a 30% lower risk of heart disease. Increasing intake of magnesium to at least 250 mg a day supports heart health by lowering the risk of developing heart disease.

Magnesium is pretty much ubiquitous in healthy foods – green vegetables, grains, and nuts – all contain it. So if you eat a good diet, you’ll likely get enough. 

You need about 350 mg of magnesium a day. A cup of spinach has 80 mg, an ounce of cashews has 75 mg, a bowl of oatmeal has 60 mg, and a baked potato has 50 mg. It is possible to readily meet your magnesium needs.  However, most people don’t eat enough healthy foods and get enough magnesium. If you are one of these people, you may benefit from magnesium supplementation. 

Bottom line: eat magnesium-rich foods, and take a magnesium supplement, if you don’t get enough in the diet. 

Del Gobbo LC. Am J Clin Nutr 2013; 98:160-173