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Wed, 31 Jan 2024 Health & Fitness

Magnesium lowers hypertension and blood sugar

Magnesium lowers hypertension and blood sugar
31 JAN 2024 LISTEN

Diverse alternative remedies have also been propagated in the management of hypertension and blood sugar. One such mineral is magnesium.

Some of the many benefits of magnesium are: supporting the heart, blood sugar levels, and mood. It’s found in a variety of foods ranging from leafy greens to nuts, seeds, and beans. Magnesium also plays an important role in boosting athletic performance.

Magnesium, supporting literature
Biochemical Reactions
According to studies, every cell in the body contains magnesium and needs it to work. This means magnesium is found throughout our bodies. One study by Grober et al.(2015) notes that the bone has about 60% of the magnesium in your body, while the rest is in the muscles, soft tissues, and fluids, including blood.

Baaij et al. (2015) study found that one of magnesium's key roles is to act as a cofactor — an aid molecule — in the biochemical reactions continuously performed by enzymes. Magnesium is involved in more than 600 reactions in our body. Some include:

  • Energy creation: converting food into energy
  • Protein formation: creating new proteins from amino acids
  • Gene maintenance: helping create and repair DNA and RNA
  • Muscle movements: aiding in muscle contraction and relaxation
  • Nervous system regulation: regulating neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system

Magnesium, Blood sugar Protect Against Metabolic Syndrome

Two studies (Grober et al. 2015; Barbagallo and Dominguez, 2015) found that low levels of magnesium have been detected in 48% of people with type 2 diabetes, and this is likely to affect the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.

Due to this, three more studies( Hruby et al. 2017; Fang et al. 2016; Zhao et al. 2020) found that people who consume more magnesium have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Simental-Mendía et al.(2016) review suggests that taking magnesium supplements could support insulin sensitivity, a major mineral in blood sugar control. Additionally, Veronese et al.( 2016) also found that magnesium supplements enhanced blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity in people at risk for type 2 diabetes.

This notwithstanding, one earlier study believes that the effect of magnesium is dependent on how much magnesium one eats in food. Since supplements were found to have no impact on blood sugar or insulin levels in people who weren’t deficient (Navarrete-Cortes et al. 2014). However, Alawi et al.(2018) found that a higher magnesium intake can benefit blood sugar levels and may help prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

An earlier study by Rodríguez-Morán et al,(2003) found that oral magnesium supplementation improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels in diabetic patients with low magnesium levels. Finally, Kim et al.( 2010 ) found that the mineral could protect against diabetes. The study monitored 4,497 participants for 20 years and found that those with the highest intake were 47 percent less likely to develop diabetes.

Magnesium, Healthy Blood Pressure and Heart Health

DiNicolantonio et al.(2018) found that Subclinical magnesium deficiency increases the risk of diverse types of cardiovascular disease,” including coronary artery disease and hypertension.

Hence, our diet should be filled with magnesium-rich foods, and those foods high in potassium, to promote better heart health and normal blood pressure levels. Potassium is another electrolyte that supports heart and healthy blood pressure which should be combined with magnesium-rich foods. Potassium helps in circulation because it increases the excretion of sodium through the urine.

Hence, Guerrero-Romero and Rodríguez-Morán, (2008) found that supplementing with magnesium reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with hypertension. Another study, by Zhang et al.( 2016) demonstrates that magnesium supplements can help lower high blood pressure levels, which may be a risk factor for heart disease. A subsequent review by Rosique-Esteban et al.( 2018) linked high magnesium intake to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. An earlier study by Verma and Garg, (2017) linked magnesium supplements to enhanced multiple risk factors for heart disease, including triglyceride, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure levels, especially in people with magnesium deficiency. Though, other studies did not find any effect (Simental-Mendía et al. 2017).

Controls Inflammation
Several studies have found low levels of magnesium to higher inflammation levels. For instance, two studies (Nielsen, FH, 2014; Furman et al. 2020) found that both low magnesium consumption and low levels in the blood were linked with higher levels of markers of low-grade chronic inflammation, which is believed to be due to increased release of cytokines and free radicals. In a similar study, Simental-Mendía et al.(2014) found that taking magnesium chloride was linked to decreased levels of inflammation in 62 adults with prediabetes. Another review, by Simental-Mendía et al.(2017) of 11 studies concluded that magnesium supplements decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, in people with chronic inflammation. Two other studies(Mazidi et al. 2018; Steward et al. 2019) report the same results demonstrating that magnesium supplements may reduce CRP and other markers of inflammation, such as interleukin-6. Finally, Zheltova et al.(2016)linked magnesium deficiency to increased oxidative stress, which is related to inflammation.

Magnesium, Asthma
Schwalfenberg and Genuis, (2017) found emerging evidence that magnesium could be adopted in managing asthma symptoms in both children and adults through its dual effects as an anti-inflammatory and broncho-dilating agent. An earlier study( Bichara and Goldman, 2009) found that some mainstream doctors recommend it as an adjunct treatment due to its low cost and low risk.

Magnesium, Cognitive Health
As an electrolyte, magnesium has been found to play an essential role in nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction, this gives it a protective role against excessive excitation that can lead to neuronal cell death(Kirkland et al. 2018). A recent review(Allen et al. 2022) found that low levels have been linked to neurological disorders due to dysfunctions within the nervous system.

New studies are emerging on its role in the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke, but what we know is that it seems to act as a low-risk adjunct treatment among those with mood issues and cognitive diseases(Ethan, B, 2022).

Dosage and Recommendations
For men, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is about 310–320 milligrams per day for women and about 400–420 milligrams daily.

The National Institutes of Health, state that the current recommended daily allowances for magnesium are:

  • Infants–6 months: 30 milligrams
  • 7–12 months: 75 milligrams
  • 1–3 years: 80 milligrams
  • 4–8 years: 130 milligrams
  • 9–13 years: 240 milligrams
  • 14–18 years: 410 milligrams for men; 360 milligrams for women
  • 19–30 years: 400 milligrams for men; 310 milligrams for women
  • Adults 31 years and older: 420 milligrams for men; 320 milligrams for women
  • Pregnant women: 350–360 milligrams
  • Women who are breastfeeding: 310–320 milligrams

These foods are high in magnesium (greens, nuts, seeds, beans, etc.), and/or take a daily supplement.

Food sources
The following foods are rich in magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • Pumpkin seeds: 37% of the DV per ounce (28 grams)
  • Chia seeds: 26% of the DV per ounce (28 grams)
  • Spinach boiled: 19% of the DV per 1/2 cup (90 grams)
  • Almonds: 19% of the DV per ounce (28 grams)
  • Cashews: 18% of the DV per ounce (28 grams)
  • Black beans, cooked: 14% of the DV per 1/2 cup (86 grams)
  • Edamame, cooked: 12% of the DV per 1/2 cup (78 grams)
  • Peanut butter: 12% of the DV per 2 tablespoons (32 grams)
  • Brown rice, cooked: 10% of the DV per 1/2 cup (100 grams)
  • Salmon, cooked: 6% of the DV per 3 ounces (85 grams)
  • Halibut, cooked: 6% of the DV per 3 ounces (85 grams)
  • Avocado: 5% of the DV per 1/2 cup (75 grams)

Ethan, B., ( 2022) writes that there are several different types of magnesium supplements available, including magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, magnesium oxide, magnesium lactate, magnesium L-threonate, magnesium malate, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium orotate. These can benefit many people but are especially helpful for those who have a known severe deficiency.

Transdermal magnesium supplementation is another way to utilize the mineral, though research is limited on its effectiveness. This involves applying the magnesium oil (which is magnesium chloride mixed with water) topically to help it absorb into the skin.

Yet another potential way to boost levels is by using Epsom salt (a magnesium sulfate compound), such as by adding some to your baths. Again, though, more research is needed on the effectiveness of absorption through these methods.

Warnings
Studies have confirmed the numerous health benefits of magnesium. Overdose can also have some negative effects on you. Excess magnesium from food is simply filtered by the kidneys and excreted through the urine. Ethan, B., ( 2022) notes that high doses of magnesium supplements can cause adverse side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Extremely high doses can lead to a magnesium overdose and symptoms of toxicity. The tolerable upper intake level from supplements is 350 milligrams per day for those above the age of nine.

Stick to the recommended dosage to sidestep negative effects on health.

Supplements can also have some interactions with certain types of medications. It can attach to tetracyclines, a type of antibiotic, and decrease their effectiveness. Take these antibiotics at least two hours before or four to six hours after supplementing.

Another concern is that supplements may lower blood pressure. If you take a medication for high blood pressure or a muscle relaxant, talk to your doctor before taking any supplement as it may alter the effects of these medications.

Conclusion
Numerous studies have found that magnesium is an important mineral involved in many aspects of our health, as low levels can cause all kinds of health problems — from hypertension and liver damage to insomnia and impotence. Hence, it is prudent to have enough of this electrolyte, preferably through foods high in magnesium, which offers several health benefits, from relieving symptoms of PMS and migraines to improving performance and sleep. Alternatively, take the recommended supplements as highlighted in this article based on scientific studies.

NB:
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.

The author is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare and President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation. E-mail: [email protected].

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