The Unsung Hero of Heart Health

Research shows magnesium lowers blood pressure naturally

Doctor Taking Patient Blood PressureBy some estimates, nearly one-third of the adult population in the United States has high blood pressure (or hypertension). High blood pressure is called “the silent killer” because it often presents no symptoms, but at the same time greatly increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney problems and death.

Most people with high blood pressure take prescription medications to lower it. Some of these medications include diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), beta blockers and alpha blockers. While generally effective, these medications have numerous side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, leg cramps, insomnia, headache, dizziness and heartburn, to name just a few.

These unpleasant side effects have prompted many patients to look for more natural ways to reduce blood pressure. Fortunately, mild to moderate high blood pressure can often be decreased naturally by following a healthy diet (like the Mediterranean diet), exercising regularly, and taking specialized heart-friendly nutrients like CoQ10 and magnesium.

Magnesium, in particular, seems to be an unsung hero when it comes to heart health and lowering blood pressure naturally.

One recent meta-analysis examined 23 studies (1,173 individuals) that observed magnesium’s effects on systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure.[1]

The mean duration of treatment was 11.3 weeks, and the mean daily dosage was 410 mg. Researchers found that the average reduction for systolic blood pressure was 3–4 mmHg and 2–3 mmHg for diastolic.

This may not seem like a huge reduction, but researchers noted, “The Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) found, when comparing antihypertensive treatments, that a [systolic blood pressure] reduction of between 0.8 and 2 mmHg, depending on drug intervention, was clinically significant in reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.”

Are You Magnesium Deficient?

So, research shows people with high blood pressure could greatly benefit from magnesium supplementation, and many people are deficient in this mineral without even knowing it.

Many factors can deplete magnesium levels in the body:

1. Chronic stress causes your body to have increased levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. If your bloodstream is flooded with these hormones, it causes magnesium to be released from your cells and removed from the body via urine.

2. Diuretics — ironically, a common blood pressure medication — can cause magnesium depletion in the body.

3. Poor diet is also a culprit. In the early 1900s, people were regularly consuming 500 mg of magnesium through their diets. Now, that value is closer to 175 mg a day, which is not enough.

4. Taking too much calcium can cause your kidneys to excrete magnesium. Ideally, calcium and magnesium should be taken in a 2:1 ratio. For instance, if you take 1,000 mg of calcium, you should take 500 mg of magnesium.

Boost Magnesium for Heart Health 

You can boost your levels of magnesium — and decrease your blood pressure naturally — by reducing stress, consuming foods rich in magnesium, and by taking a magnesium supplement.

Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, seafood, leafy green vegetables, tofu, kelp, brown rice, figs, bananas, apricots, seeds and nuts.

If supplementing with magnesium, take up to 500 mg a day. Remember, as mentioned earlier, you should take twice as much calcium as magnesium.

If you’re looking for a high-quality supplement with a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, you can simply click here.


[1] Kass L, Weekes J, Carpenter L. Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Apr;66(4):411–418.

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4 Responses to The Unsung Hero of Heart Health

  1. peter aris says:

    why does a man need calcium supplements when taking magnesium supplements?

    • Emily Norris says:

      Hello Peter,

      The point the author was making was that if you are taking calcium (which can cause your kidneys to excrete magnesium), you should consider taking magnesium as well, not the other way around. Many calcium supplements also contain magnesium, making it easier to get the 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.

      Thanks for reading!
      Emily Norris
      Peak Health Advocate Editor

  2. I had a stroke from hbp. i don’t like taking drugs, but nothing would work. They forced me to take Lisinopril and bystolic. These make me sick and I cough. Help me, what can I take that will help my hbp and no side effects, no cough.

    • Emily Norris says:

      Hello Lawrence,

      For hypertension, you should consider electrolyte balance, as this can have a profound effect on blood pressure. Calcium, magnesium and potassium all play a major role in regulating cardiovascular function and blood pressure balance. In particular, magnesium deficiencies can have an effect on blood pressure levels, especially since there are limited food sources of this nutrient. Magnesium is involved in the activation of many enzymes within the body. It assists in calcium and potassium uptake. Magnesium deficiencies are extremely prevalent in the United States, particularly in older people. Also garlic, omega-3 fish oil and Hawthorn may aid with a healthy blood pressure level.

      Besides supplemental means, of course stress reduction methods and proper diet and exercise are imperative. Try to find a method that works best for you. Many people find help through meditation, tai chi and yoga. Be sure to eat a diet that consists of mostly fresh vegetables and fruits. Also be sure to try to avoid processed, sugary and starchy foods as much as possible.

      When it comes to medication, because you already had an event, it may be merited. However, talk to your doctor about the possibility of weaning off it under his or her supervision and approach a natural way of achieving healthy blood pressure levels.

      Sarah Cadet, Nutrition Expert, Stop Aging Now