Greater intake of magnesium from food appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, a study of more than 7,000 men shows.
Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville examined dietary magnesium intake in 7172 men who took part in the Honolulu Heart Program. At enrollment, the average daily dietary magnesium intake was 268 milligrams.
During 30 years of follow-up, the rate of heart disease was significantly lower in those with the highest daily magnesium intake (340 mg or more) compared with those with the lowest intake (186 mg or less). The researchers calculate that the rate of heart disease was the equivalent of 4 cases per 1000 people per year for those in the high magnesium group, versus 7 cases among those with the lowest intake.
The findings are consistent with current guidelines for the intake of magnesium--along with the usual recommendations for exercise and a healthy diet. Whether increases in dietary magnesium intake can actually alter the future risk of disease, warrants further study.
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