Jogging woman considering magnesium and her heart health

Magnesium for Heart Health: Beginner’s Guide

Not that we're biased or anything, but when it comes to minerals, magnesium truly is magnificent. Many people associate this nutrient, which you can find in foods ranging from nuts and seeds to fruits and grains, with a healthy brain and upbeat mood.

However, there are many reasons why your cardiovascular system loves magnesium, too!

How so? Let's get to the heart of the matter.

What is magnesium?

The body needs magnesium for more than 300 essential biochemical reactions. Your body does not naturally produce this mineral, and you may not obtain the recommended daily amount from diet alone, so it is important to incorporate an oral magnesium supplement to obtain all the heart-healthy benefits this mineral has to offer.

Indeed, magnesium is at play with every heartbeat: the heart beats when calcium enters the heart muscle cells and causes the fibers to contract; meanwhile, magnesium helps these fibers relax.

Why is magnesium good for the heart?

Magnesium is an important mineral for heart health with a wide array of heart supporting benefits.

Magnesium can also help your blood vessels relax and help maintain your already-healthy blood pressure. In fact, a meta-analysis of 34 trials involving 2,028 participants found that those supplementing with oral magnesium better supported already-healthy blood pressure compared with those who took a placebo.

Is magnesium supplementation good for heart rate?

If you are looking to support a healthy heart rate, magnesium is the mineral for you. Magnesium helps heart muscles relax so that your heart can properly beat. Magnesium also helps transport potassium and sodium across cell membranes, which promotes healthy heart rhythms, supporting overall cardiovascular health.

Which magnesium is best for heart health?

If heart health is the goal, you'll actually want a few different forms of magnesium in your supplement! Magnesium citrate is the form of magnesium that your body absorbs with the most ease. Magnesium oxide has a higher level of elemental magnesium in it. Some of the best heart health supplements will contain these two types of magnesium in them.

Who should take magnesium for the heart?

A magnesium supplement is great for anyone looking to support a strong and healthy heart all life long. And more of us need to supplement than you might think. Due to degradation in soil quality, magnesium levels in produce have steadily declined over time—meaning that many people who eat foods that are presumably high in magnesium likely aren't getting quite as much of this mineral as they think!

One way to check your levels is by taking a lab test. You can also ask your doctor for advice on magnesium supplementation.

Do magnesium supplements work?

Daily use of supplemental magnesium can help support healthy levels of magnesium. It is important to follow the dietary supplement dosage guide on the bottle and not to take more dietary supplements than what is recommended.

How much magnesium should I take?

Magnesium dosage varies depending on gender. The recommended dietary magnesium intake for adult males is 400-420 mg and 310-320 mg for females. During pregnancy, magnesium levels may need to increase; check with your doctor to be sure.

When to take magnesium?

The time of day you take your magnesium supplement is up to you. Some people like to start their day with vitamins and supplements to feel their best all day long, while others tend to opt for a nighttime ritual. Whenever you take it, make sure you are consistent with your dosage and incorporate a magnesium supplement daily.

Best magnesium: Which formula should I take?

Man listening to radio supplements with magnesium

Different forms of magnesium are used for different reasons, because they have unique bioavailability and each provide a different amount of elemental magnesium.

For heart health and overall wellness, Life Extension Extend-Release Magnesium is a great choice because it offers both magnesium citrate for rapid uptake of elemental magnesium and magnesium oxide that has been formulated with time-released microbeads for extended release—ultimately providing consistent magnesium uptake, which is what you want!

If you're looking for a magnesium supplement that specifically supports brain function, on the other hand, Magnesium L-threonate is a great option as it effectively promotes healthy levels of magnesium in your brain.

Other magnesium benefits

Woman on computer researching magnesium

Magnesium has more benefits than just heart health—it also impacts other parts of your body, including your brain and bones.

  • Bone health

    : Magnesium is involved in the formation of bones and influences the activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Studies have found a positive association between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women.
  • Brain

    : Magnesium plays an essential role in synaptic transmission— the biological process in which neurons communicate with other cells.

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Are there any side effects?

For already-healthy people, eating a lot of magnesium-rich foods won't affect your health; your kidneys help eliminate excess magnesium through urine. However, be careful about how much magnesium intake you get from dietary supplements—it could affect your stomach adversely.

As a general rule, consult with your healthcare provider before taking supplements.

Other ways to keep your heart healthy

Fish oil in salmon is good for heart health

Supplementing with magnesium is a great way to be proactive about your heart health…but it's certainly not the only way. Follow these tips to treat your ticker right:

  • DO eat a heart-healthy diet

    : Eat your way to better heart health with a little help from the American Heart Association. The AHA provides a list of heart healthy foods that not only support the strength of your heart, but also blood vessels and blood pressure. These foods can be found in your local store and are staples of the Mediterranean diet. For heart health, make sure to incorporate olive oil, pomegranate, whole grains, fatty fish, walnuts, berries, dark chocolate, garlic, green tea and leafy greens.
  • DO get enough fish oil

    : Fish oil is a general term for the healthy oils that are found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, but also come from fish livers and cod liver oil. Fish oil is crucial when it comes to heart health because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA as well as a variety of other heart health benefits. Most notably, these omega-3 fatty acids support already-healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • DON'T stay on the couch

    : One of the best ways to take care of your heart is by exercising daily, aiming for about 150 minutes per week. Those sweat sessions support already-healthy blood pressure levels, promote blood flow, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Aerobic exercise can help lower your resting heart rate as well as support the strength in which your heart can pump blood. On the other hand, resistance training can help maintain your overall cardiovascular health. So, make sure you do both each week!

About the Author: Andrew Davis is a graduate of Pace University NYC with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He has more than a decade's worth of experience in content and social media in the health and wellness space. An avid traveler, Andrew also has volunteered as an English teacher and humanitarian in countries throughout Asia.


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