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Higher serum magnesium levels associated with decreased coronary artery calcification

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Research published on March 1, 2016 in Nutrition Journal found a lower risk of coronary artery calcification among men and women with higher levels of serum magnesium.

"Increased carotid intima-media thickness and coronary artery calcification (CAC) are both markers of subclinical atherosclerosis, and are also predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality independently of traditional CVD risk factors," note authors Rosalinda Posadas-Sánchez and colleagues at Mexico City's Instituto Nacional de Cardiología Ignacio Chávez in their introduction.

The study involved 1,276 participants in the Genetics of Atherosclerotic Disease study, which included Mexican men and women between the ages of 30 and 75 years. Subjects included in the current investigation were limited to those without cardiovascular disease or family history of premature coronary heart disease. Blood sample analysis provided data concerning serum magnesium and other values, and computed tomography examination assessed coronary artery calcium.

Thirteen percent of the women and 41.5% of the male participants had coronary artery calcium scores greater than zero. Among subjects whose serum magnesium levels were among the top 25% of participants, the adjusted risk of having a CAC score greater than zero was 42% lower than those whose magnesium levels were among the lowest 25%. Additionally, the risk of high blood pressure was 48% lower and the risk of type 2 diabetes was 69% lower for those in the highest magnesium group. Each 0.17 milligram per deciliter increment in serum magnesium was found to be associated with a 16% lower risk of the presence of coronary artery calcification.

In their discussion regarding potential protective mechanisms for magnesium, the authors observe that "Dietary magnesium restriction in animal models resulted in reduced plasma and erythrocyte magnesium levels, which was accompanied by endothelial dysfunction and systemic inflammation, well known factors involved in the atherogenic process. Interestingly, these abnormalities were reverted by magnesium supplementation."

"Low serum magnesium was independently associated to higher prevalence not only of hypertension and diabetes mellitus 2, but also to coronary artery calcification, which is a marker of atherosclerosis and a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality," they conclude.

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