Magnesium and Blood Pressure – What You Should Know!

In the United States, about 77.9 million (1 out of every 3) adults have high blood pressure.  Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide. 

But there’s some good news.  Getting enough magnesium may help keep your blood pressure under control.  Magnesium is commonly found in plant foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains.  

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show roughly two-thirds of Americans have suboptimal intakes of magnesium from food.

Are Magnesium Supplements Right for Me?

If you’re already consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, there is a likelihood that taking a supplement won’t have the same effect.  

Most studies showing beneficial effects enroll people who report lower intakes of magnesium-rich foods.

Nutrition scientists also recommend a “food-first” approach since foods contain many other nutrients that act together to promote health.

There is evidence that magnesium supplements work to lower blood pressure.  People in clinical studies that were administered 300-500 mg of supplemental magnesium for 2-3 months have consistently shown improvements in blood pressure as compared with those on the placebo. 

This is not surprising given that people who consume high amounts of plant foods containing magnesium also show a decreased risk of low-grade chronic inflammation, hypertension, and heart disease.

Magnesium supplements may have benefits beyond heart health.  Several studies suggest that getting enough magnesium can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, a disease that affects more than 50% of adults over 50 years old.  

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50-60% of the body’s magnesium has actually stored in the bones.  Magnesium helps to regulate your blood vitamin D levels.

It’s involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body, including those involved in both immune and inflammatory responses.

I recently suggested magnesium to be critical for boosting immune resilience and combating COVID19 in a scientific perspective published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Lower intakes have also been linked to an increased risk for type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and migraine.

Are Magnesium Supplements Safe to regulate your blood pressure?

Magnesium supplements are safe and relatively low-cost.  Just remember more is not always better.  The most common “adverse effect” reported from taking supplemental magnesium is laxation at levels above 350 mg (although most adults can tolerate 500 mg or less).  

People who take too much magnesium from supplements can experience nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.

If you’re curious about what type of magnesium is best for high blood pressure, meta-analyses have reported benefits from a wide range of organic and inorganic formulations such as magnesium lactate and magnesium citrate.

Some professionals suggest magnesium taurate for lowering blood pressure because it contains the amino acid taurine, which can also reduce hypertension.

However, I’m not aware of any human studies examining magnesium taurate on blood pressure.

How about chelated vs. non-chelated magnesium? I say po-tay-to vs. po-tah-to. Any formulation or dietary pattern that provides adequate magnesium levels will be helpful.

A good supplement option is a pico-iconic formulation because its microscopic size absorbs easily without flooding your digestive tract.

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Who wants to trade high blood pressure for loose bowels? My team conducted a clinical study on a pico-ionic formulation called ReMag™️.

Recommended Intakes

Adults need to get about 320 mg (women) or 420 mg (men) of magnesium daily for good health, per the Dietary Reference Intakes in the U.S. and Canada. 

There is no reason to supplement above 350-500 mg per day unless advised by your doctor.  

Remember to always talk with your certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) about all dietary supplements you are taking so you don’t get too much and/or avoid potential interactions with medications.

Consumers – Check out the NIH fact sheet for consumers on magnesium. Health professionals – Check out the expert review on magnesium that I co-authored.

Additionally, you can head over to my Amazon page to see a list of my recommended supplements for magnesium, lactoferrin, choline, and more. 

References

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About the Author: Tung Chi