Magnesium: Why It's Essential for Your Heart

07/03/2018 | 4 min. read

Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Why Magnesium is Essential for Your Heart

Discover why your heart requires magnesium, and why many people don’t get enough.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. This critical mineral facilitates more than 300 enzymatic reactions in your body—without it, your entire body suffers. Your body needs magnesium to regulate your body temperature, promote proper sleep, and support healthy bone growth. But most importantly, magnesium supports your heart

Benefits of Magnesium for Your Heart

Your heart needs energy—in fact, it’s the biggest energy user in your body. One of the most important functions of magnesium is that it helps your body convert the foods you eat into energy, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Magnesium is the catalyst that makes energy production possible.

But energy is only one part of the picture. Magnesium also helps to shuttle calcium and potassium in and out of your cells and allows your muscles to contract as they should. In fact, magnesium supports nearly every aspect of your heart, including:

  • Promoting normal blood pressure
  • Supporting healthy circulation and blood flow
  • Enabling your blood vessels and arteries to dilate and relax as they should
  • Supporting muscle and nerve health

The Research on Magnesium for Heart Health Is Impressive

Several studies have shown that magnesium has a therapeutic effect on the cardiovascular system.1,2 It helps with nerve cell transmission, supporting the heart muscle. Plus, magnesium supports the endothelial lining of the blood vessels.

Epidemiological and clinical studies have also found that supplementing with magnesium is associated with healthy blood pressure levels.3,4,5 It’s also been suggested that magnesium may help blood pressure by impacting the secretion of adrenal hormones, which helps with sodium excretion—resulting in less water retention, which lessens the amount of blood circulating through the cardiovascular system.

Do You Have Enough Magnesium?

While your body naturally produces magnesium, levels decline over time. Plus, magnesium levels can be depleted by:

  • Stress: When stress hormones are released by your cells, so is magnesium—causing you to pee out this vital mineral.
  • Our Modern-Day Diets: Years ago, food was naturally abundant in magnesium. But modern-day farming and food processing practices have depleted much of this mineral from our food supply.
  • Certain Medications: High-dose calcium supplements and the long-term use of diuretics can deplete magnesium levels in the body.

How do you know if you have enough of this important mineral? Your doctor can check your magnesium levels. Plus, some of the symptoms of deficiency can include: poor sleep, migraines, low energy, and muscle spasms.

What Are the Best Food Sources of Magnesium?

One good way to get magnesium is by eating foods rich in this vital mineral, including:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocadoes
  • Bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Mackerel
  • Halibut
  • Salmon
  • Beans
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Figs and apricots
  • Dark chocolate

Yet, it’s tough to get enough of this nutrient from foods alone, which is why I highly recommend taking a good magnesium supplement.

What Is the Best Form of Magnesium to Take?

There are many different forms of magnesium. Most multivitamins, for example, contain magnesium oxide—which is tough for your body to absorb due to its laxative effect on the colon. So, what is the best form to take?

I recommend taking a broad-spectrum magnesium supplement that contains the four most absorbable forms, including:

  • Orotate
  • Citrate
  • Glycinate
  • Taurinate

All of these forms of magnesium are highly bioavailable, so they’re easy for your body to absorb and use. Plus, the orotate form has been demonstrated in Australian studies to most effectively increase the production of ATP.

How Much Magnesium Should You Take?

For heart health, I recommend taking at least 400 to 800 mg of a magnesium supplement daily, regardless of how much magnesium you think you are getting in your diet. That’s what I included in my Magnesium Broad-Spectrum Complex formula. I take it myself every night, right after I brush my teeth. It’s that important for heart health.

Resources:

1 Sinatra S, et al. Heart Sense for Women. Washington, DC: LifeLine Press; 2000.
2 Whitaker J. Reversing Hypertension. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.; 2000.
3 Joffres MR, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Feb;45(2):469–75.
4 Witteman JC, et al. Circulation. 1989 Nov;80(5):1320–7.
5 Ascherio A, et al. Circulation. 1992 Nov;86(5):1475–84.

More Heart Healthy Advice from Dr. Sinatra

Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Meet Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy.

More About Dr. Stephen Sinatra