When I’m asked, which minerals or vitamins should be increased to help lower blood pressure; magnesium is always near the top of my list. Besides blood pressure, magnesium can benefit your body in many ways like with bone health and osteoporosis (resource). With heart disease continuing to be the leading cause of death and millions with high blood pressure, getting the proper amount of magnesium should be a priority.
Can consuming magnesium lower blood pressure? Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure by relaxing the body, muscles, veins and arteries. This helps the blood vessels from constricting and raising your blood pressure. In addition, magnesium regulates other minerals in your body, such as calcium and potassium, that are vital to your blood pressure.
Fortunately, receiving the proper amount of magnesium is not difficult. There are plenty of common foods high in magnesium and supplements are inexpensive compared to some others. The blood pressure formula I reviewed in this site contains magnesium as one of its 5 main ingredients. If you’re interested, you can read that blog post right here. In this blog post I’ll explain to you in detail how magnesium benefits your blood pressure. In addition, I’ll inform you the best foods high in magnesium, how much of it you should be getting daily and is it possible to get too much.
How Magnesium Lowers Blood Pressure
Would you like to relax? Magnesium can help you in more ways than one! Magnesium is needed to help your blood vessels relax. It has anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent blood clotting and helps your blood vessels to relax. A relaxed blood vessel is less likely to constrict (resource). Constricted blood vessels cause all sorts of problems including making your heart work harder and more pressure on the blood vessel walls raising blood pressure.
Magnesium controls hundreds of body symptoms including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar and blood pressure. In your muscles and your heart, magnesium competes with calcium to help your muscles relax after contracting. When you are low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscles cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
A proper amount of magnesium will help your body absorb calcium. Magnesium is needed to transport calcium across cell membranes (resource). If calcium is not balanced with magnesium it can lodge in areas of your body and cause harm. One of these places are your arteries, calcification of your arteries can lead to cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
Magnesium is needed to activate the Na/K ATPase, the sodium pump and helps to protect against potassium loss. Potassium levels are important in controlling blood pressure. The potassium to sodium ratio helps the body rid excess fluid which helps to keep blood pressure lower (resource). The extra fluid and volume of blood puts more pressure on your blood vessels walls and makes the heart work harder. I wrote a detailed blog post in this same website about how potassium can lower blood pressure which you can check out right here.
I have to warn you that the next magnesium benefit may put you to sleep, it helps to relieve insomnia (resource). Because magnesium calms your muscles and nerves, it can help you relax and prevent restless leg syndrome. In addition, magnesium is also known to help relieve anxiety and fight depression. It plays a crucial role in brain function and mood. By getting enough sleep and remaining more calm, there will be less release of stress hormones, like cortisol. This can help lower your blood pressure.
Magnesium Studies Show How It Lowers Blood Pressure
The following are 6 recent studies that show how magnesium is associated with lower blood pressure and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Published in 2016, in Hypertension Journal, Researchers (resource) looked at 34 different studies that involved over 2,000 people. The researchers found the following:
- Taking 368 mg of magnesium supplements a day for 3 months reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- They also found that taking 300 mg of magnesium a day for 1 month resulted in lower blood pressure and higher magnesium levels.
- Higher magnesium levels were associated with an improvement in blood flow, a factor known to help lower blood pressure.
- The studied also concluded the lowering of blood pressure with magnesium supplements might only be effective for people who are deficient in magnesium.
Another study (resource) published in 2006 found magnesium supplementation lowered diastolic blood pressure by 2.2 mm Hg in 545 people with high blood pressure.
A study published in 2012 (resource) researched 22 studies and concluded that magnesium supplementation decreased systolic blood pressure by 3-4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2-3 mm Hg.
Heart Disease and Stroke Studies
In addition to blood pressure, other studies have studied an association between magnesium and heart disease. In 2013, a study (resource) of 7,664 people aged 20 to 75 years that did not have cardiovascular disease was published. The study found low magnesium levels were associated with higher risk of ischemic heart disease over a 10-year period.
A review (resource) of previous studies found that higher magnesium intakes were associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease. The study also found a lower risk of cardiovascular disease with those that had a higher serum level of magnesium.
In 2012 (resource) a meta-analysis of 7 prospective trials with over 200,000 participants was released. There was a 8% decrease of stroke, especially ischemic when an additional 100 mg of magnesium a day was added to the diet.
Foods High In Magnesium
Now that you know magnesium is good for lowering blood pressure and overall health, what are the best foods that are high in magnesium? Fortunately, there is a long list of foods, and many of them are common and can be found in your local supermarket. Here is a list of 10 foods that are high in magnesium and make it easier to control your blood pressure (resource).
Have any of you watch the cartoon, Popeye The Sailor? It was one of my favorite cartoons while I was growing up. I loved the part where Popeye ate the can of Spinach and grew muscles and strength. Spinach is loaded with nutrients, and it’s low in calories. Spinach is also high in potassium, calcium and iron.
This heavy green vegetable is also known as spinach beet or silverbeet. Besides magnesium, it’s high in vitamins k and a. Swiss chard also has high levels of nitrates which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate is also rich in zinc and iron and contains antioxidants that help with several other health benefits. Why is dark chocolate much better than milk chocolate? Because it has much more cacao and less sugar than milk chocolate. For most it doesn’t taste as good but the difference in health benefits is crucial.
In addition to magnesium, pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. All of these help to reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Besides having magnesium, almonds are one of the best resources of vitamin e. It also contains fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. This helps to reduce blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. I recently bought almond flour to make pancakes with. It was pretty expensive, but I’m not eating them every day or week.
This magnesium high food can be used as a substitute for other non-healthy foods. Instead of having strawberries and cream, try strawberries with coconut milk. Make a creamy latte with coconut milk and coffee. Coconut milk can also be used in place of yogurts or cream, especially when making a curry.
One of the most popular nuts in the world they also contain high amounts of copper and manganese. I love buying a bag of mixed nuts where almonds and cashews are the main nuts.
This fruit is the star of a great guacamole, and I love having it on the side of my spinach omelette dish. I’ll also mush it up and use it as a spread on just about anything. Avocado is also a good source of potassium which is great for lowering blood pressure.
There’s nothing better than eating foods that are both high in magnesium and potassium. Halibut is also high in niacin, phosphorous, B 12 and B6. Like other good fish, Halibut is high in omega-e fatty acids which are good for lowering cholesterol and heart health.
A blood pressure formula I recommend contains both magnesium and B6 in addition to another beneficial BP ingredient. You can check out my blog post about it right here.
Black beans are high in magnesium and like other beans, are high in other minerals. Stay away from canned beans because of their high sodium content. If you must, buy the lower sodium option and also rinse the beans before heating them up.
How Much Magnesium Should You Consume Daily
Side effects from too much magnesium from food are very rare. This is so because the body excretes any excess in the urine. However, if you consume too much magnesium from supplements, you can experience diarrhea, abdominal cramping and nausea.
Therefore, how much magnesium should you consume every day? The table below lists the current recommended daily amounts for magnesium as per the Institute of Medicine (resource) Food and Nutrition Board:
|Birth-6 months||30 mg||30 mg|
|7-12 months||75 mg||75 mg|
|1-3 years||80 mg||80 mg|
|4-8 years||130 mg||130 mg|
|9-13 years||240 mg||240 mg|
|14-18 years||410 mg||360 mg||400 mg||360 mg|
|19-30 years||400 mg||310 mg||350 mg||310 mg|
|31-50 years||420 mg||320 mg||360 mg||320 mg|
|51+ years||420 mg||320 mg|
If your magnesium levels are so low that you are deficient, it makes it harder to keep your blood pressure low. Typically when your magnesium levels are too low, it’s not from lack of nutrition. The kidneys limit the amount of magnesium excreted through urine. Excessive loss of magnesium and consistently low levels are typically due to the following (resource):
- Certain health conditions
- Certain Medications
- Excessive alcohol
Some early signs that you are becoming magnesium deficient include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness: Low magnesium can cause weakness due to the loss of potassium in muscle cells.
As magnesium deficiency gets worse, the following symptoms can occur:
- Tingling and numbness
- Muscle cramps: A greater flow of calcium into nerve cells can over stimulate the muscle nerves.
- Abnormal heart rhythms: Low magnesium can cause an imbalance of potassium levels outside and inside the heart cells.
- Coronary spasms
- Personality changes: Studies have associated low magnesium with an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Magnesium inadequacy occurs when magnesium intake is less than the recommended amount but doesn’t fall to levels considered to be deficient. The following are people at risk for magnesium inadequacy. They are at risk because they consume less magnesium or have a medical condition that reduces the amount of magnesium absorbed by the body. In addition, the medication they are taking may reduce the amount of magnesium stored in the body. Because magnesium levels are low, it makes it harder for them to lower blood pressure (resource).
- Type 2 Diabetes: People with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance can have increased magnesium excreted through urine.
- Gastrointestinal Diseases: People with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and regional enteritis can have magnesium depletion over time due to fat malabsorption and chronic diarrhea.
- Older Age People: As people age, magnesium absorption from the gut decreases. In addition, older people are more likely to have medical conditions or take medications that affect magnesium levels.
- Excessive Alcohol: People who are suffering from chronic alcoholism have poor diets, gastrointestinal issues, and other deficiencies that all lead to a magnesium deficiency.
How To Know If You Are Magnesium Deficient
If you fall into any of the high-risk groups, experiencing symptoms of low magnesium or taking medications that can leave you with a magnesium deficiency, how do you really know if you are deficient? It’s a good idea to discuss this with your doctor and find out if you can take a simple blood test to measure your magnesium levels. It’s possible low magnesium levels are making it hard for you to lower blood pressure.
If you’re going to do this, it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor what kind of test you’re going to get (resource). The most common blood test measures serum magnesium levels. This test doesn’t measure the magnesium level within the cell where 99% of your magnesium is found. Inquire about getting an erythrocyte magnesium level or a red blood cell magnesium level test. These 2 tests provide better insight into your magnesium levels and are available from many labs across the U.S.
If you don’t have a doctor to discuss these issue with, you may want to check out this health plan service I recommend. They can find you the right plan for you at affordable prices. Check out my blog post about it right here.
What minerals are good for lowering blood pressure? The following minerals are valuable for lowering blood pressure: magnesium, potassium and calcium. All three minerals play substantial roles in blood vessel health that help to lower blood pressure.
Can too much magnesium cause high blood pressure? Too much magnesium will not cause high blood pressure. In fact, too much magnesium may cause low blood pressure. Other serious side effects including irregular heart beat, slowed breathing, coma, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, confusion and even death.
If you found this Blood Pressure topic interesting check out these related blood pressure articles also found in this same website:
- Systolic Blood Pressure – Everything You Need To Know
- Why Blood Pressure Can Be Different In Each Arm
- Potassium To Lower Blood Pressure