You need calcium for your bones, potassium for your muscles, and magnesium for your heart. Learn about all the benefits of magnesium for the heart.
Magnesium and Heart Function
Magnesium transports calcium, potassium, and other electrolytes into cells. A normal heartbeat depends on nerve signals and muscle contractions caused by electrolytes.
Accordingly, it is no surprise that magnesium deficiency leads to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
According to the Framingham Study, low levels of magnesium are associated with atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common heart rate disorder.
AF happens when the upper chambers of the heart quiver due to a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system, which leads to poor blood flow.
According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, hypertension was associated with low levels of magnesium, and another showed that magnesium deficiencies were associated with heart disease and heart attacks.
However, a review of 22 studies suggested that taking magnesium supplements could promote lower blood pressure.
How to Take Magnesium
You already have magnesium in your body – about 25 grams of it if you’re a healthy adult (mostly in your bones).
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) varies depending on age and sex. Keep these guidelines in mind for daily supplementation:
- Men ages 19-30: 400 mg
- Women ages 19-30: 310 mg
- Men, ages 31+: 420 mg
- Women, ages 31+: 320 mg
There are plenty of foods that are rich in magnesium.
Sometimes magnesium is added to foods like breakfast cereals, but the best place to get it is through natural sources such as almonds, spinach, tofu, other soy products, and green leafy vegetables.
Other foods rich in magnesium include:
- Soy milk
- Black beans
- Whole grains
How the Body Regulates Magnesium
Generally, healthy people don’t have to worry much about magnesium deficiencies.
The kidneys help control your magnesium levels and, when it notices your levels are low, they excrete less of it.
However, if there’s low magnesium intake or an excessive loss of it, you can experience a magnesium deficiency.
Conditions such as type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, and alcoholism can deplete magnesium, as well as the use of certain medications.
Seniors who take diuretics such as furosemide and proton pump inhibitors are at higher risk for magnesium deficiencies.
Age also causes a decrease in magnesium absorption, as well as an increase in magnesium excretion.
People with magnesium deficiencies may need supplements to make up their loss. Otherwise they might experience muscle spasms, irregular heartbeats, and seizures.
Excessive magnesium intake may lead to side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Extreme doses, such as 5,000+ mg, can even be fatal.
If you decide to try magnesium for heart arrhythmia and other conditions, do not go above the recommended dose.
Try a supplement that contains safe amounts, such as L-arginine Plus, and be worry-free.