(Natural News) Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is essential for avoiding life-threatening cardiovascular problems like heart attack, stroke and heart disease. While anti-hypertensive medicines are often the go-to treatments for high blood pressure, more and more people are looking for natural remedies to avoid the many side effects of prescription medications, which include lightheadedness, anxiety and even sexual dysfunction.
One of these natural treatments is magnesium.
Magnesium supplementation can help reduce high blood pressure
Why is magnesium so beneficial for heart health? This essential mineral has been found to improve nerve function, help blood vessels relax and support a steady heartbeat. In fact:
- A 2017 meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking magnesium can significantly lower blood pressure “in individuals with insulin resistance, prediabetes or other non-communicable chronic diseases.”
- Getting adequate levels of magnesium may help individuals with high blood pressure reduce their dependence on or completely come off anti-hypertensive drugs – which is good news for their wallets and overall health.
- Magnesium also helps your body absorb vitamin D, boosts bone and immune health, supports muscle function, helps regulate sleep and mood and regulates blood sugar levels.
Magnesium deficiency can put you at risk of other health conditions
Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 different physiological processes in your body. This means that a deficiency in magnesium can adversely affect your overall well-being, whether or not you have high blood pressure.
The causes of magnesium deficiency vary. They range from inadequate dietary intake to loss of magnesium from the body.
Aside from high blood pressure, the following symptoms and conditions are also associated with, or are a direct consequence of, magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Mental health problems
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Numbness and tingling
- Loss of appetite
- Impaired coordination
- Low blood sugar
Unfortunately, obvious signs of magnesium deficiency typically do not appear until blood levels become severely low. Magnesium loss can lead to conditions such as diabetes, poor nutrient absorption, chronic diarrhea, celiac disease and hungry bone syndrome. People with alcoholism are also at an increased risk of magnesium loss. (Related: Why magnesium may be the single most important nutrient you need to take for heart health.)
How much magnesium is adequate for optimal health?
The studies referenced in the above-mentioned meta-analysis featured magnesium doses ranging from 365 to 450 mg per day. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 420 mg/day for men ages 50 and up, and 320 mg/day for women ages 50 and up. These doses may vary depending on an individual’s age, health status and other factors.
If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, make sure it contains either magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate — the mineral’s more absorbable forms. It is also best to introduce magnesium supplements to your body slowly to avoid adverse reactions like diarrhea or stomach cramps.
A number of healthy foods are naturally rich in magnesium. If you wish to improve your intake of dietary magnesium, here are magnesium-rich superfoods that you can add to your grocery list:
- Black beans
- Bran cereal
- Brazil nuts
- Brown rice
- Kidney beans
- Mackerel and other fish
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Potatoes (with skin)
- Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
- Soy milk
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Whole grain bread and cereal
Magnesium is just one of many essential nutrients that support heart health. Learn about all of them at Nutrients.news.