On Monday, I showed you an easy way to soften your arteries and help avoid heart disease and heart attacks. All you have to do is drink cranberry juice. Today, I’d like to show you another way to avoid heart disease by lowering your blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a sign that your heart is working harder to pump blood through your circulatory system. This could be because of a blockage, stiffer arteries, or the result of taking a stimulant, such as caffeine. If your blood pressure is high due to stiffer arteries, the cranberry juice can help. But a new study says you should also take a very common supplement.
In this new study, researchers wanted to know if magnesium can lower blood pressure. Other recent studies haven’t been able to come up with a conclusive answer. Some reported highly significant results, where the magnesium brought the blood pressure down to very low levels. Others found only minimal decreases in pressure. So these researchers looked at the data of 22 different studies on 1,173 participants to find out if magnesium works.
In these studies, researchers gave between 120 to 973 mgs daily for up to 24 weeks. They found that magnesium does indeed lower blood pressure, but it’s often only a small, but significant amount. The authors noted that the greater the dose, the bigger the drop in pressure. And it usually took at least 370 mgs to see a drop.
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This makes complete sense. Most integrative physicians will tell you to take at least 500 mgs daily, but you can take up to 1,000 mgs (or bowel tolerance).
Why do some studies suggest that magnesium doesn’t work? I suspect there are a couple of explanations. First, the dose may be too small in those studies. Second, it all depends on the cause of your high blood pressure. Magnesium isn’t likely to have any effect (or very little) when a blockage is causing your pressure to go up.
However, if your arteries are stiff, then magnesium is the perfect solution. Magnesium has a relaxing effect on arterial walls and muscles. So it can help your circulatory system relax and become more flexible.
A few weeks ago, I told you this effect can help save your heart (and your life) during a heart attack. Keeping your heart muscle and your vascular system relaxed can lower your blood pressure and help you avoid heart attacks and stroke. It can even help you avoid blood clots, which are more likely to develop in stiff arteries.
Make sure you’re taking 500-1,000 mg of magnesium every day (the more the better). The best form is magnesium glycinate, which you can find in most health food stores and online.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Kass L, Weekes J, Carpenter L. Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb 8. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.4.