Magnesium & Clogged Arteries

Written by robin wasserman
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Magnesium & Clogged Arteries
Green vegetables are a good source of magnesium. (spinach image by ivan kmit from Fotolia.com)

Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Found in bone, inside the cells of body tissues and organs and in the blood, deficiencies in magnesium leads to clogged arteries, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.

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Sources

Chlorophyll, the molecule that gives plants their green colour, contains magnesium. Therefore, vegetables rich in chlorophyll, such as spinach, are an excellent source of magnesium. Beans, peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains and tap water can also be high in magnesium.

Animal Studies

Studies in rabbits and other animals have shown a low-magnesium diet increases the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which fats stick to the walls of arteries, eventually blocking the arteries and promoting coronary artery disease.

Serum Cholesterol Levels

While high-serum cholesterol levels are usually associated with increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, some studies have shown serum cholesterol levels to be poorly correlated to atherosclerosis, and instead, highly correlated to dietary magnesium levels.

Stents

Interestingly, Harvard University reports stents used to open up clogged arteries can be made of magnesium. The body will absorb the magnesium once it has done its job. These stents may play two roles, by opening up the artery as well as increasing the magnesium concentration to prevent future clogging.

Mechanism

The mechanism of how magnesium works appears to depend on the presence of macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that scavenge debris. Low magnesium levels lead to low macrophage levels, increasing plaque formation in the arteries.

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