Dietary Fiber and Magnesium Prevent Hypertension

Summary By Hans R. Larsen MSc ChE –

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health have completed a study to determine the relationship between diet and hypertension (high blood pressure). The study involved over 30,000 male health professionals 40 to 75 years old. The baseline mean systolic blood pressure for the men was 125.5 mm at age 40-44 and 133.7 mm at age 70-75. The diastolic blood pressure at 79.3 to 80.4 mm was relatively unchanged with age. During four years of follow-up 1248 of the men developed hypertension. An analysis showed that participants consuming less than 250 mg per day of magnesium had a 50% greater chance of developing hypertension than had men who consumed 400 mg/day or more. Similarly, an intake of less than 2.4 g/day of potassium increased the risk of hypertension by 50% as compared to an intake of 3.6 g/day or more. The most striking effect was found in the case of dietary fiber where an intake of 24 grams/day or more was found to provide significant protection. A higher intake of dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium was also found to be associated with lower blood pressure in healthy men. The results of this study confirm the findings of an earlier study involving 58,000 nurses. The authors point out that although diet is important in preventing hypertension, its effect is overshadowed by the risk imposed by obesity and excessive alcohol intake.

Circulation, November 1992, pp. 1475-84

In studies of natives from Greenland, the Bantu peoples of southern Africa, Bedouin people of the middle east and Aborigines of Australia, incidences of high blood pressure and heart disease were low due to high levels of magnesium in their drinking water and food. When these people moved to urban areas and began eating a modern diet, they developed high blood pressure and heart disease as often as those in the industrialized western countries.

Source: Altura, B.M., B.T. “Magnesium in Cardiovascular Biology.” Scientific American, Science & Medicine, May/June 1995:28-37.

Magnesium in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, and Other Conditions: A Review – Champagne, C. M.
Nutr Clin Pract 2008 23: p. 142-151

A study of 21 people published in the journal Hypertension in 1989 found that taking 625 milligrams of magnesium daily significantly reduced blood pressure.

Source: Montoyama, T., Sano, H., Fukuzaki, H. “Oral magnesium supplements in patients with essential hypertension.” Hypertension, 1989;13(3):227-32

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1997, people who took 411 to 548 milligrams of magnesium daily achieved a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Source: Itoh, K., Kawasaki, T., Nakamura, M. “The effects of high oral magnesium supplementation on blood pressure, serum lipids and related variables in apparently healthy Japanese subjects.” British Journal of Nutrition, 1997;78(5):737-50.

In a study of people who are borderline hypertensive, Drs. Burton and Bella Altura, two of the leading researchers in the field of magnesium, report that 70 to 80 percent have significantly depressed blood-ionized magnesium levels.

Source: Altura, B.M., B.T. “Magnesium in Cardiovascular Biology.” Scientific American, Science & Medicine, May/June 1995:28-37.

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