Despite promising autopsy and population data suggesting that inadequate magnesium intake is a risk factor for sudden cardiac death, it wasn’t until recently that this was demonstrated in prospective studies.
Despite the promising autopsy and ecologic—meaning, population—data I just covered supporting a specific association between low magnesium levels and sudden cardiac death, there’s only been two studing prospectively examining the association: this one, from the Harvard Nurse's Study, published in 2011, and this one from 2010 the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communitues study, covering a multiethnic population of thounsands of men and women. High blood levels of magnesium were associated “with an almost 40% reduced risk of sudden cardiac death” and “Women in the highest compared with the lowest quarter of dietary and blood magnesium had a 34% and 77% lower risk of sudden cardiac death, respectively.
Another 2011 study, noting “Magnesium is an essential mineral in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, legumes—meaning beans, peas, lentils and soy, and nuts, as well as seeds, that acts as a cofactor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the human body. A considerable body of evidence indicates that a higher intake of dietary magnesium may favorably affect a cluster of metabolic and inflammatory disorders including many of our top killers like diabetes and heart disease.
So, did they put a whole bunch of people on whole grains, greens, beans, and nuts? No, they gave them a pill. A randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial and indeed magnesium pills did improve somne biomarkers in the bodies of these overweight individuals studied, but come on. Even the Harvard Nurses study threw up their hands in defeat. Since“most Americans do not meet the RDA even taking pills, therefore, we need… more pills, and put it in the water supply or start fortifying foods. I mean there’s no way, apparently, that Americans are going to start eating spinach or something.
It’s true, though, that most Americans eat so poorly that they don’t even get the measly recommended daily intake. This is the daily value, 400. This is how much the average American gets. How much do you think the average American vegetarian gets? Recently publised in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association: “A Vegetarian Dietary Pattern as a Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Management. They measured vegetarian magnesium intake and… they’re not eating spinach either. Nonvegetarians ate an average of zero point one one cups of dark green vegetables a day; the vegetarians ate zero point one five cups. They did better, but still not enough greens, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena
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Make sure you watch the "prequel" to this video, yesterday's NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day How Do Nuts Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death?. Though those eating plant-based diets may average less than half the nutrient deficiencies than meateaters, as seen in Omnivore vs. Vegan Nutrient Deficiencies, that's not saying much given how pitiful the Standard American Diet is to start with. See, for example Nation’s Diet in Crisis and Calculate Your Healthy Eating Score. There are many more videos on greens, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as a thousand other topics—enjoy!