Hypertension is a predominant risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease. A meta-analysis found a significant inverse relationship between dietary intake of magnesium and risk of hypertension.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a risk factor for several major causes of death including stroke and cardiovascular disease. About 29.6% of U.S. adults live with hypertension, and this number has increased alarmingly in recent years. Causes of hypertension include smoking, limited activity, and lack of essential nutrients, like magnesium, in the diet. Magnesium, which plays a large role in the regulation of blood pressure, has been cut from the diet of western countries by more than half in the last century, likely resulting in a magnesium deficient population. Few studies have examined the relationship between magnesium intake and hypertension, and those that have remain inconclusive due to conflicting results. Han and colleagues conducted an analysis of multiple scientific studies to examine the association between intake of magnesium in the diet and the risk of hypertension. They published their results in Nutrition Journal.
The analysis included studies published before June 2016 that examined the relationship between dietary magnesium intake and/or serum magnesium concentration and the risk of hypertension. They analyzed a total of 10 studies that included 20,119 cases of hypertension. Most of the studies were conducted in the United States, with one in Mexico and one in the Netherlands. The majority included both males and females.
What Han and colleagues found was a significant inverse relationship between dietary magnesium intake and risk of hypertension, but not serum magnesium concentration. In other words, as the intake of magnesium in the diet goes down, the risk of hypertension goes up. Since magnesium is mainly consumed through diet, these results are important for decreasing hypertension. Similarly, consumption of magnesium is low worldwide, so increasing intake in the diet may be a great way to help reduce the risk of hypertension.
Written By: Liana Merrill, PhD