Life Extension Magazine®

Depressed woman in park with low magnesium levels

In The News: Glucosamine lowers cardiovascular risk

Glucosamine lowers cardiovascular risk; vitamin D deficiency linked to cirrhosis mortality; calcium reduces risk of AMD blindness; olive oil inhibits blood clot formation; magnesium may reduce depression risk.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Low Magnesium Increases Risk of Depression in Women

A beneficial role for greater magnesium intake and higher serum magnesium levels in the prevention of depression was suggested in a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.*

The study included 17,730 participants in the 2007–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Researchers found a lower risk of depression among women who had a higher intake of magnesium.

Individuals who were among the top 25% of magnesium consumers had an adjusted risk of depression that was 53% less than those who were among the lowest 25%.

Editor’s Note: The study contributes to the ever-expanding body of evidence in support of optimal magnesium intake and periodic magnesium blood testing, and it supports the inclusion of depression on the list of conditions benefitted by magnesium.


*J Affect Disord. 2019 Mar 1;246:627-632.

Vitamin D Deficiency Predicts Mortality in Cirrhosis Patients

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Results from a meta-analysis published in Clinical Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology found an association between severe vitamin D deficiency in patients with cirrhosis of the liver and a significantly greater risk of dying during follow-up periods ranging from 147 to 419 days.*

For the meta-analysis, researchers selected eight studies that included a total of 1,339 subjects with liver cirrhosis. Study reports included subjects’ serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and provided data concerning mortality from all causes. While vitamin D levels of less than 20 ng/mL were categorized as deficient, severe deficiency was defined as a level of less than 10 ng/mL. Being severely deficient in vitamin D was associated with a 79% greater mortality risk during follow-up, in comparison with having higher levels of the vitamin.

Editor’s Note: Vitamin D deficiency of less than 6 ng/mL was associated with an even greater risk of dying during follow-up. Severe deficiency was also associated with cirrhosis severity.


*Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2019 Mar 29.

Calcium May Decrease Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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A greater intake of calcium was linked to a lower risk of progression to late, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study reported in JAMA Ophthalmology.*

From 1992 to 2001, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) evaluated the effects of nutritional supplements on cataracts and AMD.

The study included 4,751 men and women, who were followed until 2005. Among those whose intake of calcium from food was among the top 20% of participants, there was a 27% lower risk of developing late AMD in comparison with subjects whose intake was among the lowest 20%. When calcium supplementation was evaluated, participants whose intake was among the top one-third had a 30% lower risk of developing neovascularization than those who did not use calcium supplements.

Editor’s Note: The authors found that, “Women in the highest tertile of calcium supplementation had a lower risk of progression to neovascular AMD…compared with those who did not take calcium supplements. Similar findings were found in men for dietary calcium. Too few men took calcium supplements to allow for analyses.”


*JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019 May 1;137(5):543-550.

Olive Oil Helps Maintain Normal Blood Viscosity

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A presentation at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2019 reported on a study showing an association between regular consumption of olive oil and a reduction in blood platelet activity. Participants were healthy, obese adults, who were at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.* Increased blood platelet activation increases blood clot formation, which can impair blood flow.

The 63 nondiabetic subjects had no known cardiovascular disease and were part of a larger prospective study of platelet function in obesity. Dietary questionnaire responses provided information concerning the frequency of olive oil intake. Platelet activation was assessed via flow cytometry.

Among subjects whose intake of olive oil was once a week or less, platelet activation was significantly higher than the level of activation associated with consuming olive oil one to three times per week.

Editor’s Note: Olive oil consumption four or more times per week was associated with an even greater benefit than consuming the oil one to three times weekly.


*Abstract P335. Presented at: EPI-Lifestyle 2019 Scientific Sessions; March 5-8, 2019; Houston.

Glucosamine Supplementation Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

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Among people who supplemented with glucosamine, there was a lower risk of cardiovascular disease events, coronary heart disease, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease, according to a study reported in The BMJ.*

Researchers utilized data from 466,039 participants who enrolled in the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2010. Subjects completed questionnaires upon enrollment that provided data concerning diet, supplement use and other factors. Participants were followed for an average of seven years.

People who used glucosamine supplements had a 15% lower risk of total cardiovascular disease events, defined as cardiovascular disease death, coronary heart disease, and stroke, in comparison with people who did not use the supplements. When these outcomes were examined individually, glucosamine use was associated with a 22% lower risk of cardiovascular death, an 18% lower risk of coronary heart disease and a 9% lower risk of stroke.

Editor’s Note: Glucosamine is a popular over-the-counter supplement used by people with osteoarthritis to relieve pain and support healthy joint tissue.


*BMJ. 2019 May 14;365:l1628.