“However, populations from all over the world showed high rates of sudden cardiac death in areas with low soil and/or water magnesium levels; and animal research as early as 1936 implicated low nutritional magnesium in atherosclerosis—the hardening of arteries. By 1957 low magnesium was shown to be, strongly, convincingly, a cause of atherogenesis and the calcification of soft tissues. But this research was widely and immediately ignored as cholesterol and the high saturated-fat diet became the culprits to fight.” (13)
This excerpt is from studies by Andrea Rosanoff, Ph.D., a colleague and collaborator with Dr. Seelig who continues Seelig’s work. While it is certainly true that hypertension, obesity, smoking, and chronically high LDL cholesterol contribute to cardiovascular disease, they aren’t the only factors—they have become the most conspicuous markers.
Doctors often don’t test for blood or urine magnesium when treating or aiming to prevent heart disease.
How Did This Happen?
Somewhere along the line, calcium and vitamin D became trendy nutrients and people were told they needed more of both. Milk and many packaged foods have been fortified with them for years (as synthetic supplements).
Without balance among these, magnesium, and phosphorus, body chemistry is thrown out of whack and you end up with inadequate magnesium to offset the larger amounts of calcium and vitamin D. From Dr. Rosanoff: “high cellular Ca:Mg [calcium to magnesium] ratios manifest in tissues as the ‘fight or flight’ response, bringing on clinical symptoms of CVD.”
Rosanoff explains that processed foods contain few ingredients that contain naturally-occurring magnesium. Furthermore, commercial wheat, fruit, vegetables, and other food crops have been so hybridized, chemicalized, and genetically modified that their natural magnesium content has noticeably decreased in the last 60 years. (Yet another reason to eat organic!)
“As the modern processed-food diet and the stressful high-Mg-requiring lifestyle that goes with it expand throughout the world, more and more of the growing human population will experience the marginal Mg status our society has been living with for decades, and we can expect (and we now see) increasing levels of CVD as a result.” (Ibid.)
Some health conditions can contribute to magnesium depletion, such as:
- Gastrointestinal disorders: chronic diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, intestinal inflammation due to surgery or radiation therapy
- Kidney disorders: diabetes, taking diuretics, other medications
- Age: the older we get, the more difficult it becomes for the intestines to absorb magnesium from foods.