Mineral of the Year—Magnesium

Mineral of the Year—Magnesium
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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.

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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 multiethnic 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 the 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 0.1 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to David T Jones and USDAgov / flickr

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 multiethnic 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 the 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 0.1 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to David T Jones and USDAgov / flickr

Nota del Doctor

Make sure you watch the prequel: How Do Nuts Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death? Although those eating plant-based diets may average less than half the nutrient deficiencies than meat-eaters, 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 on thousands of other topics—enjoy!

Check out my associated blog posts: Magnesium-Rich Foods to Prevent Sudden Death and Nuts Don’t Cause Expected Weight Gain.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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