Magnesium Supplements Helps Heart Patients

By Hans R. Larsen MSc ChE

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. Clinical trials have shown that a magnesium injection can reduce the risk of dying during a heart attack. Whether orally administered magnesium is of benefit to heart patients is unclear. Now researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center report that daily oral magnesium supplementation may help prevent the formation of blood clots in patients suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD). Their experiment involved 42 CAD patients who were randomized to receive either magnesium oxide tablets (800-1200 mg/day) or a placebo for a three-month period followed by a four-week washout period, and then the alternative treatment for three months. All patients were taking aspirin as well as their other regular medications throughout the study. Before and after each phase the researchers measured a range of blood chemistry variables among them platelet-dependent thrombosis (PDT) which is a measure of the blood’s tendency to form clots. The average (median) PDT was found to be 35 per cent lower in patients taking magnesium than in patients taking the placebo. It is interesting that the researchers found no significant differences in blood serum magnesium levels even after three months of supplementation. This confirms that blood serum is a very poor indicator of magnesium status in the body. This is perhaps not surprising as 99 per cent of the body’s magnesium content is found in bones and cells rather than in the blood. The researchers conclude that oral magnesium supplementation may benefit CAD patients. NOTE: This study was partly funded by Blaine Company Inc. (supplier of magnesium oxide), Erlanger, KY and Nutrition 21, San Diego, CA.

Shechter, Michael, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation inhibits platelet-dependent thrombosis in patients with coronary artery disease. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 84, July 15, 1999, pp. 152- 56

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