|Taking your Blood Pressure Herbs Diet Minerals|
Sodium - Hypertension
and High Blood Pressure
Potassium to Improve
Magnesium to Prevent
Calcium, to prevent,
high blood pressure
and heart disease
and Heart Attacks
Magnesium to Prevent Heart Attacks
Diabetes and hypertension are intimately related. Magnesium shows its usefulness here because it has a very beneficial effect on hypertension and blood sugar conditions. In the Women’s Health Journal July-August 1997, Andrew Meyers, ND, discussed the dual aspect of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in the secretion and production of insulin. Therefore, magnesium helps to control blood sugar levels, which is important for individuals with diabetes and hypoglycemia.205 According to research, not only do low levels of magnesium reduce insulin production, they also cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity which can contribute to hypertension.206
Insulin resistance, such as type II diabetes, increases urination that is glucose-laden and full of minerals like magnesium. This downward cycle can be stopped through magnesium supplementation and diet. We know that diabetes can cause or exacerbate hypertension, and magnesium is definitely a key player in ameliorating both conditions.
Magnesium can stabilize irregular heart rhythms, or cardiac arrhythmia. A heart attack causes rapid loss of magnesium, which weakens your heart muscle and thus makes it vulnerable to cardiac arrhythmia (which can be fatal). In some cases, intravenous magnesium has had dramatic and immediate results in correcting arrhythmia. Magnesium should also be given before heart surgery to protect the heart muscle. According to Prevention magazine, one third of all households surveyed in a study were below the RDA for magnesium. The type A personality – the personality most likely to die of sudden heart failure – might be due in part to a magnesium deficiency. This is not surprising, since stress decreases your magnesium levels. Research in Canada has shown that the hearts of heart attack victims contained about 22 percent less magnesium than the hearts of those who died of non-cardiac problems.207
A magnesium shortage was most acute at the site where the heart muscle was infarcted, destroyed due to ischemia, and where the blood circulation was obstructed.208 Bella T. Altura, Ph.D., of the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, believes there is a close link between stress, magnesium deficiency and SDIHD (sudden death ischemic heart disease).209 Remember that magnesium is lost during periods of stress, and magnesium is needed to dilate or open the blood vessels in your heart tissues, as well as in your arteries.
Studies have consistently demonstrated that incidence of SDIHD is highest where the drinking water or soil is very low in magnesium. In Finland, studies demonstrated that mortality is highest in the part of the country where the soil is most deficient in magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Modern day life has also contributed to magnesium loss. Both stress and noise deplete your cellular levels of magnesium.210 The good news is that even small increases of dietary magnesium protect against noiseinduced stress. So type A personalities should take more magnesium and be aware when they are creating stress in their mind/body.
Another benefit of magnesium we have already mentioned is that it helps to lower blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels. Adequate magnesium intake allows the coronary arteries to relax and open wider to lower blood pressure.
Pharmaceutical calcium channel blockers are medications that relax the smooth muscle in the artery wall by inhibiting calcium absorption. Calcium is responsible for muscular contraction; the artery walls are muscular. Thus, the patient’s blood pressure will fall as the wall expands.211 These drugs can produce many side effects, and they have recently been linked to heart attacks and cancer.
Low levels of magnesium increase the release of thromboxane, which is vasoconstricting, meaning that it causes the blood vessels to constrict.212 Not only does magnesium deficiency constrict blood vessels, it also increases angiotension II-mediated aldosterone synthesis in normal human subjects.213 Aldosterone is secreted by the adrenal cortex and increases intracellular sodium levels, which in turn increases blood pressure, especially if you are sodium sensitive or potassium deficient.
High magnesium intake is needed to lower blood pressure and improve diabetes. Many forms of magnesium exist in supplement form. Ones that are used most often are the citrate, glycinate and oxide. The glycinate form will cause the least loose stool effect. Doses which have proven helpful range from 100-500 mg 2 times a day for a total of 200- 1000 mg daily. Chapter 11 contains many foods high in this precious mineral, like leafy green vegetables. Magnesium has so many vital functions that it is essential for overall health. It is involved in hundreds of enzymatic systems. Natural Vitality (http://www.naturalcalm.net/ home.shtml or call 800-446-7462) makes biological active nutrients such as magnesium. They also have a Cal-Mag Plus formula that contains potassium, which we will now discuss.
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