Magnesium and Heart Disease

This blog is a bit longer than usual, but if you are anyone you know has heart problems I believe you’ll find it worth the time it takes to read it all the way down to the end.

I’ve mentioned before that I LOVE Shaklee nutritional supplements, and I may have told you some of the amazing results my family has experienced with Shaklee. My son had a burst appendix but we didn’t know it because other than a quick sharp pain, very low-grade fever and some intermittent pain for a few days he didn’t have any serious symptoms.  In fact I thought he had pulled a muscle because he was lifting a heavy object when it happened.  Thank heaven I didn’t massage it because we realized later that this was when his appendix actually burst.


Fortunately we were a big Shaklee family so when he started with the fever I doubled all of the supplements he was taking. However, after a few days when he still had the fever I brought him to the doctor. He was immediately tested for possible appendicitis but all the tests were negative, he was still put in the hospital “just in case his appendix is getting ready to cause a problem” (quote from the doctor), and he laid there for three days, still with a low-grade fever.

Every day I would bring in his Shaklee supplements.  My son said “Mom, the doctor told me I can’t eat,” so I said “good, don’t chew, just swallow!” So he did.  Finally, a week after this whole thing started the doctors decided to do a barium enema and found a mass in my son’s abdominal region, and his fever shot up to 106 (you die at 107) so it was decided to do emergency surgery.

After the surgery the doctor said “that’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire medical career.  His appendix burst last week (actually 8 days before the surgery) and his body totally encapsulated the infection and was devouring it.  When we did the barium enema we broke the shell. If we hadn’t done the test his body would have cleaned it up and we wouldn’t have ever known that it burst in the first place!”  I told him about the supplements I’d been giving Michael and asked if they could have been the cause. He said to me “your son should be dead, those supplements saved his life!”

I’ll never change from Shaklee regardless of what anyone says about the brand they are selling.  Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that Steve Chaney, PhD (Professor of Nutrition and Biochemistry to medical students for 35 years, and on the Shaklee Scientific Research Team) is my mentor in Shaklee, so I have a great source of information right at the other end of my cell phone.  Dr. Chaney writes a column called “Tips from the Professor” that I like to share occasionally.  This is what I received from him today:

Magnesium’s Role in Heart Disease

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It is essential for more than 300 biochemical reactions. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function. It keeps the heart beating steadily. It plays a role in keeping our immune system in tiptop shape and keeping our bones strong. It also plays important roles in keeping our blood sugar level and blood pressure under control.

Yet 70 to 80% of the US population does not meet the recommended intake of 400 mg per day of magnesium. A recent study reported that the average magnesium intake was 326 mg per day for Caucasian men, 237 mg per day for African-American men, and 297 mg per day for Mexican-American men. The corresponding numbers for women in these ethnic groups were 237, 177, and 221 mg per day, respectively (Ford and Mokdad, J. Nutr., 133:2878-2882, 2003).

So most of us are getting between 74 mg and 223 mg less magnesium every day than we should be. That’s not good, but it’s not terrible either. Does that daily magnesium deficit make a difference? Should we be trying to do something about it?

Two small clinical studies suggested that magnesium might affect heart health. The investigators restricted dietary magnesium intake in healthy postmenopausal women to 101 – 130 mg per day. Those studies showed that low magnesium intake caused irregular heartbeats in otherwise healthy women and that this could be reversed by simply supplementing with RDA levels of magnesium.

Because of these and other studies suggesting that low magnesium intake may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, scientists at Harvard decided to do a meta-analysis of as many high quality studies as they could identify that correlated either blood levels of magnesium or dietary intake of magnesium with heart disease risk (Del Gobbo et al, Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 98: 160-173, 2013).

They identified 16 high quality studies with 313,041 subjects for inclusion in their analysis. Their analysis clearly showed the importance of magnesium in reducing heart disease risk. There was a 30% decrease in overall heart disease prevalence for every 0.2 mmol/L increase in blood magnesium levels.

Perhaps more to the point, there was a 22% decreased heart attack risk for every 200 mg per day increase in dietary magnesium intake. That’s significant because most of us are getting 100 – 200 mg per day less magnesium in our diet that we should be.

The Bottom Line….

So what is the bottom line for you?

   – If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably not getting enough magnesium in your diet on a daily basis. In fact, you’re probably getting somewhere between 74 mg per day and 225 mg per day less than you should be. That matters because a deficit of as little as 100 to 200 mg per day can increase your risk of heart attack by 11% to 22%.

 – You don’t need megadoses of magnesium. You can make up some of that 74 to 225 mg per day deficit by increasing your intake of magnesium rich foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, and many vegetables.

If you decide that you want to assure that you’re getting the proper amount of magnesium (as well as all the other important nutrients we need to survive in a healthy manner) I suggest you visit my Shaklee website and take a look around at all the information about the various supplements.

Wishing you well,



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