Friday, 4 December 2015

Magnesium and All-Cause Mortality Rates

Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. These reactions include those in DNA and RNA production, energy production, cell migration and communication between cells. In fact, the importance of magnesium is so great that it has been shown in a German study to dramatically reduce not only cardiovascular mortality rates, but also all-cause mortality.

Inspired by the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP), rates of all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality in 4,203 patients were analysed in relation to magnesium levels. The mean follow-up duration was 10 years. Among people with magnesium levels of 0.73mmol/L or less, the all-cause mortality rate was 10.95 deaths per 1,000 person-years, and the death rate for cardiovascular disease was 3.44 per 1,000 person-years. However, this was 1.45 per 1,000 and 1.53 per 1,000 in participants with magnesium levels of over 0.73mmol/L. This is a reduction in all-cause mortality rates by over 85%, and of approximately 55% in cardiovascular mortality rates!

So what do the results of this study mean? One could argue that the massive drop in death rates is due to the patient’s diets and lifestyles as a whole, with a high magnesium intake just being another effect. This is a possibility because the authors excluded those taking magnesium in supplement form, meaning that only dietary intake of magnesium through foods such as green vegetables was responsible for the aforementioned health benefits. However, the inverse association between magnesium intake and dying was independent of cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension and antihypertensive drug therapy. In addition, multiple studies have found that magnesium deficiency is associated with increased inflammation, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, meaning that the mineral itself is likely to be of particular importance.

Unfortunately, most people are deficient in magnesium, but symptoms such as fatigue, muscle cramps and headache are so generalised and common that many never have any idea of the true cause of these problems. One of my teachers (If I remember correctly he works at Herbs on the Hill) says that sugar cravings are often just a craving for the nutrients usually paired with sugar in nature, such as magnesium. However, most of us are raised to reach for lollies or soft drink, which leave you with persistent cravings because they aren't really what you want. This is part of my theory that whether or not someone is making a good decision for themselves is totally relative, because even if it's physically harming them, then it's an attempt at self-medicating that society/corporations/dealers have hijacked. Besides dietary inadequacies, stress, fluoride and prescription drugs such as diuretics can also deplete magnesium from the body.

For those wishing to increase their magnesium intake, there are many foods that contain this vital mineral, such as hemp seeds. Some others, that are legal in all countries (what do you think my position on government is after the previous paragraph? Very negative) are:  
  • Oat bran, which has 96mg per ½ cup
  • Brown rice, which contains 86mg per cup
  • Mackerel, a fish that has 82mg for every three ounces
  • Spinach, which contains 78mg per ½ cup
  • Almonds (77mg per ounce)
  • Lima beans (63mg per ½ cup)
  • Bananas (32mg per banana)
  • Peanuts and blackstrap molasses (both 48mg per ounce) 

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