Magnesium-rich diet reduces mortality risk
Magnesium supplements probably fit perfectly in the life-extensionist's diet. We deduce this from epidemiological studies done in Germany and the US, which show that a relatively high magnesium intake reduces mortality – and thus extends life expectancy.
The German study was published in Atherosclerosis in 2011. That study showed that people with a magnesium level lower than 0.73 millimoles per litre are 1.58 times more likely to die than people whose magnesium level is higher than this. [Atherosclerosis. 2011 Nov;219(1):280-4.]
In the group with relatively low levels of magnesium in the blood, the risk of dying from a cardiovascular problem is 1.66 times higher than in the group with higher magnesium levels.
In the German study the researchers followed a group of several thousand over 45s for an average of ten years. Although users of magnesium supplements did not take part in the study, the researchers suspect that some groups would benefit from taking magnesium on a regular basis. "Further studies should be initiated to investigate magnesium supplementation in special circumstances may be beneficial", they write.
Magnesium alone reduces the mortality risk, but also works together with vitamin D, according to data gathered between 2001 and 2006 for the American National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Over twelve thousand Americans over the age of 20 took part in this survey. [BMC Med. 2013 Aug 27;11(1):187.]
The researchers discovered that participants were less likely to die the more magnesium there was in their blood. A high magnesium level reduced the chance of fatal cardiovascular disease and a fatal form of bowel cancer as well as other causes of death.
The protective effect of magnesium was particularly noticeable in the group that also had relatively high levels of vitamin D in their blood. Click on the figure below for a larger version.
The researchers believe the explanation for this lies in the way in which the body converts vitamin D from food and the vitamin D made in the skin as a result of exposure to sunlight into its active form. This metabolic process requires magnesium.
Magnesium in food
Magnesium is not only present in supplements of course. Foods containing magnesium include wholegrain products, nuts, dark chocolate, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, soya, dairy products and meat.
[BMC Med. 2013 Aug 27;11(1):187.]
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