Magnesium Combats Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome

By Hans R. Larsen MSc ChE

WARSAW, POLAND. Mitral valve prolapse syndrome (MVP) is a fairly frequent disorder and is particularly prevalent among women of childbearing age. It usually manifests itself through symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, anxiety, headaches, and a low level of vital energy. It can be clinically confirmed through an echocardiogram. The cause of MVP is not clear and there is no effective conventional treatment. Researchers at the Grochowski Hospital in Warsaw now report that MVP is related to a magnesium deficiency and can be successfully treated with oral administration of magnesium supplements. Their study involved 141 patients (124 women and 17 men aged 16 to 57 years) whose diagnosis of MVP had been confirmed by echocardiography. The researchers measured the serum (blood) level of magnesium in the 141 patients and in 40 matched, healthy controls. They found that 60 per cent of the MVP patients had an abnormally low magnesium level (<0.7 mmol/L) while only five per cent of the controls had a low level. Seventy of the patients (64 women and 6 men) were then randomized to receive either oral magnesium supplementation or a placebo for a five-week period. The magnesium group received 1800 mg/day of magnesium carbonate (510 mg of elementary magnesium) for the first week and than 1200 mg/day of magnesium carbonate (340 mg of elementary magnesium) for the remaining weeks. At the end of the test period all participants were evaluated for MVP symptoms, anxiety level, serum magnesium level, and urine content of adrenaline and noradrenaline. The average number of MVP symptoms in the patients treated with magnesium decreased from 10.4 to 5.6 after treatment. There was no significant change among the patients in the placebo group. The number of patients reporting a high level of anxiety decreased from 32 (54 per cent) to 9 (15 per cent) after supplementation with no change observed in the placebo group. The level of noradrenaline excreted in the urine also declined markedly after magnesium supplementation (from 42 micrograms/gram/24 hours to 26.8 micrograms/gram/24 hours), but increased in the placebo group. The researchers conclude that MVP symptoms are linked to a magnesium deficiency and believe that this deficiency may be caused by an increased release of adrenaline and noradrenaline in MVP patients. They also conclude that magnesium supplementation is effective in combatting MVP symptoms particularly anxiety. They speculate that this beneficial effect could be due to magnesium’s ability to inhibit the toxic effects of an excessive release of catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline).

Lichodziejewska, Barbara, et al. Clinical symptoms of mitral valve prolapse are related to hypomagnesemia and attenuated by magnesium supplementation. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 79, March 15, 1997, pp. 768-72

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