1 in 3 Deaths From Heart Disease Are Preventable
By Carolyn Dean, MD, ND
February is American Heart Health month, but anytime is a good time to take care of your heart. According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that's 1 in every 4 deaths.1 Heart disease also holds the position as the leading cause of death for both men and women; coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually.2
Every year about 720,000 Americans have a heart attack. The human and economic costs are staggering. Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.3 Why are we losing the war on heart disease?
Americans are prone to heart disease and heart attack because the present American diet is heavily biased toward processed flour, sugar, simple carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats; this type of unhealthy eating leads to a deficiency in the mineral magnesium, a mineral that is vital to having a healthy heart. Because of our mineraldepleted diet and the depletion of minerals from our soils, over 75% of Americans are magnesium-deficient.
It's absolutely no coincidence that the most magnesium in the body is concentrated in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood through the aortic valve and aorta to the rest of the body. Clinical studies have shown that chronic magnesium depletion has direct consequences, including:
*Arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), tachycardia (too rapid heartbeats) and abnormal electrical activity in the heart, (shown by electrocardiogram) due to abnormal shifts of the mineral potassium into and out of heart cells.
*Arteriosclerosis (stiffening and inflexibility of the blood vessels) causing constriction of the arteries and spasms in blood vessels.
*High blood pressure.
*Angina (chest pain due to heart disease).
*Myocardial infarction (damage to heart cells - better known as a heart attack) and clots due to ischemic heart disease (an insufficient flow of oxygenated blood to the heart).
*Heart valve disorders such as mitral valve prolapse. Magnesium nutrition is an important step in preventing heart attack and heart disease.
The Most Important Things You Need to Know About Magnesium Nutrition & Heart Disease
1. Heart Attacks: The heart is a very large muscle. Calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. If the body is deficient in magnesium, the heart can go into spasm causing a fatal heart attack; beat erratically causing arrhythmia; or beat too slowly (bradycardia), or too quickly (tachycardia). Magnesium balances calcium.
2. Magnesium prevents blood clot formation and muscle spasms of the heart blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack. One major cause of angina is spasming of the heart's coronary arteries that are lined with smooth muscles that react to a deficiency of magnesium.
3. Magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the peripheral blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, another risk factor of heart disease.
4. Magnesium prevents calcium buildup in cholesterol plaque in arteries, which leads to clogged arteries.
5. Your body requires magnesium to maintain healthy elastin, which provides essential elasticity in your arteries. Loss of elasticity is a risk factor for heart disease. Loss of elasticity causes inflammation of heart blood vessels, which interferes with blood flow and leads to heart disease.
6. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include leg cramps, eye twitching, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, racing heart, and chest pain.
7. High blood pressure can cause stroke and heart attack. Tension in the smooth muscle of blood vessels throughout the body due to magnesium deficiency is a major cause of high blood pressure.
Magnesium is an extremely safe supplement; its main side effect of loose bowel movements is actually a benefit to 60% of the population that is constipated. It is most commonly taken as a highly absorbable powdered form of magnesium citrate with hot water or cold water.
Clinical studies show that treatment with magnesium, taken at the right time and in the right amount, can lessen heart disease risk factors and even save lives. Adequate magnesium nutrition may lessen the need for heroic surgeries and may lessen the need for or even replace high-cost medications with their adverse side effects.
I recommend tipping the prevention scales and monitoring calcium intake, supplementing with low-dose vitamin D, vitamin K2, 700 mg of both magnesium and calcium (with most calcium coming from the diet).
A 32-page guide to the benefits of magnesium and how to avoid heart disease and improve heart health naturally is available as a free download at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.
1. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2013;61(4).
2. Circulation. 2014 ;128.
3. Circulation. 2011;123:933-44.
The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article.