ATLANTA, GEORGIA. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have just released the results of a study which shows a clear association between low blood serum levels of magnesium and the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes. The study involved 12,000 participants who were enrolled between 1971 and 1975 and followed for 19 years. At the end of the study 4282 of the participants had died, 1005 of them from ischemic heart disease. Compared with participants having a magnesium level of 0.80 mmol/L or less the risk of dying from heart disease was 21 per cent lower among participants with magnesium concentrations between 0.80 and 0.84 mmol/L and 31 to 34 per cent lower among participants with concentrations higher than 0.84 mmol/L. This correlation held true even after adjusting for other major variables such as age, sex, race, education, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, use of anti- hypertensive medications, body mass index, history of diabetes, alcohol use, and the level of physical activity. The researchers estimate that about 11 per cent of the almost 500,000 deaths from coronary heart disease which occurred in 1993 in the United States can be attributed to low magnesium levels. They also point out that a recent study (NHANES I) found that about 23 per cent of the people evaluated had magnesium levels below 0.80 mmol/L. Other studies have shown that a large proportion of the American population does not consume the recommended daily allowance of magnesium (350 mg/day for men and 280 mg/day for women).
Ford, Earl S. Serum magnesium and ischaemic heart disease: findings from a national sample of US adults. International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 28, August 1999, pp. 645-51