This Is How Magnesium Can Prevent Heart Attacks

The essential mineral is a heart health powerhouse.
Adél Békefi via Getty Images

We’re often told that taking vitamins and supplements can keep us healthy, but how healthy really? Do they even work?

Well, there is one supplement that researchers have found can be super protective for all things heart health-related.

Yup, we’re talking about good old magnesium. The mineral is most often talked about in the context of how good it is for our sleep and nervous system.

But some studies have found that high magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of major cardiovascular issues, like diabetes, hypertension, stroke and heart disease — one of the world’s leading causes of death.

It’s also essential for maintaining a steady heartbeat and normal blood pressure.

Carolyn Dean, a doctor who’s on the medical advisory board member for the Nutritional Magnesium Association in the US, explained why magnesium is so important for heart health.

“The highest levels of magnesium in the whole body are in the heart, specifically in the left ventricle, which does the most work,” Dean told Today’s Geriatric Medicine.

“Magnesium is the gatekeeper for calcium being allowed into muscle cells to cause contraction. Then magnesium ushers the calcium out of the cell.”

Without magnesium to guard the channel, calcium “floods the cell and leads to hypercontraction of the muscle cells”, explained the doctor, which could prompt a heart attack.

The mineral also works hard to keep your bones strong and muscles working, as well as keeping your blood sugar under control.

How much magnesium should I get every day?

According to the NHS, women need 270mg a day and men need 300mg a day.

We can get our daily hit through the food we eat, such as:

  • Soy products like tofu or soy milk,
  • Wholemeal bread,
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach,
  • Low-fat plain yogurt,
  • Pumpkin or chia seeds,
  • Legumes,
  • Black beans,
  • Avocados,
  • Bananas,
  • Almonds – just 28g has 20% of the daily magnesium an adult needs.

It’s hard to know if you’ve got low magnesium levels without a blood test, as you won’t really get symptoms, but if your levels are low, you might feel nauseous, fatigued, hyper-excited, sleepy and have a loss of appetite.

If that’s the case, it might help to pick up a supplement. You can get bog standard tablets/pills, or you can get dissolvable tablets you add to your water in the morning.

Combining this with the magnesium-rich foods above will put you on track for optimum heart health.