Transcript: Mineral of the Year—Magnesium
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 studies prospectively examining the association: this one, from the Harvard Nurses’ Study, published in 2011, and this one, from 2010: “The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities” study, covering a multi-ethnic population of thousands 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 noted: “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 co-factor 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 some biomarkers in the bodies of these overweight individuals studied, but come on.
In fact, 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 and 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 for magnesium, 400. This is how much the average American gets.
How much do you think the average American vegetarian gets? Well, recently published 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 their greens either.
Non-vegetarians ate an average of 0.11 cups of dark green vegetables a day; the vegetarians ate 0.15 cups. They did better, but still, not enough greens, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
It’s not enough to eat a plant-based diet. We need to eat a healthy plant-based diet.
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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