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Higher serum magnesium levels associated with decreased coronary artery calcification

Wednesday, April 13, 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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Higher serum magnesium levels linked with lower risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death
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An article in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association reports the finding of an association between higher magnesium levels and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and sudden cardiac death over a median follow-up of 8.7 years.

Researchers at Erasmus MC–University Medical Center in The Netherlands evaluated data from 9,820 participants in the Rotterdam Study of men and women aged 55 and older for whom serum magnesium levels were available. Among 2,303 deaths over follow-up, 780 were attributed to cardiovascular disease, of which 431 were classified as CHD deaths, including 187 sudden cardiac deaths.

For subjects whose serum magnesium was categorized as low, there was a 36% higher risk of coronary heart disease mortality and a 54% greater risk of sudden cardiac death in comparison with those who had levels in the middle range. Each 0.1 micromole per liter magnesium was determined to be associated with an 18% lower risk of CHD mortality. Low magnesium was also associated with accelerated subclinical atherosclerosis, including increased carotid intima-media thickness and prolonged QT interval; however, according to the authors these factors do not explain the relationship between a higher risk of coronary heart disease mortality or sudden cardiac death with decreased magnesium levels.

"Low serum magnesium has been associated with inflammation and disturbances in the regulation of vascular tone and endothelial function," write Brenda C. T. Kieboom, MD, MSc, and colleagues.

"The results from this and previous studies may provide a rationale to design intervention studies to analyze whether magnesium supplementation could prove to be effective in lowering the burden of CHD mortality and sudden cardiac death," they conclude.

 
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How to delay brain aging by 11 years, by William Faloon

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How PQQ protects the brain, by Cheryl Hopkins

Bridging the fiber gap, by Leslie Stanton

Unexpected neurological benefits from algae, by Chancellor Faloon

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Ask the Medical Editor:  A multi-targeted approach to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, by Hernando Latorre, MD, MSC

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Wellness profile:  A time-travel party with David Kekich, by Kyle Roderick

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Health Concern

Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease

Not every person who suffers from atherosclerosis presents with the risk factors commonly associated with the condition, such as elevated cholesterol, but every single person with atherosclerosis has endothelial dysfunction. Aging humans are faced with an onslaught of atherogenic risk factors that, over time, contribute to endothelial dysfunction and the development of atherosclerosis.

Vitamin K is steadily gaining attention for its ability to reduce vascular calcification and help prevent vascular disease (Jie KSG et al 1996). Evidence for the ability of vitamin K to prevent calcification can also be found in an animal study in which researchers administered the anticoagulant warfarin to rats. Warfarin is known to deplete vitamin K. At the end of the study, all the animals had extensive calcification, suggesting they had lost the protective effect of vitamin K (Howe AM 2000).

A large study of more than 4,800 subjects followed for 7-10 years in the Netherlands demonstrated that people in the highest one-third of vitamin K2 intake had a 57% reduction in risk of dying from vascular disease, compared to those with the lowest intake. Furthermore, their risk of having severe aortic calcification plummeted by 52%—a clear demonstration of the vitamin's protective effects (Geleijnse, 2004).

Another study by the same group showed that higher vitamin K2 intake was associated with a 20% decreased risk of coronary artery calcification (Beulens, 2009).

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