Low magnesium associated with coronary artery calcification

Low magnesium associated with coronary artery calcification

Magnesium, a crucial mineral involved in over 350 enzymatic processes within the body, emerges as a pivotal factor in predicting various aspects of heart disease. Alarmingly, more than 50% of Americans are reported to be deficient in magnesium. While the association between low serum magnesium levels and cardiovascular disease has been previously suggested, recent studies have shed light on a specific correlation with coronary artery calcification—a key indicator of heart health.

In a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, researchers delved into the analysis of 34,553 participants who underwent coronary multi-detector computed tomography and serum magnesium level measurement between 2010 and 2012 as part of a comprehensive health examination program. The findings revealed a significant association between low serum magnesium and coronary artery calcification, even after adjusting for various cardiovascular risk factors.

Low serum magnesium emerged as a notable factor linked to coronary artery calcification, particularly for individuals at low risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This association persisted even after adjustments for age, sex, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and other crucial factors like systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, eGFR, serum calcium and phosphorus, hs-CRP, current smoking status, alcohol intake, and vigorous exercise frequency.

It is crucial to note that serum magnesium levels represent only 1% of magnesium stores in the body. The homeostatic control of magnesium in the serum can lead to false negatives in measurements. RBC magnesium testing is recommended as a more accurate alternative, as it reflects magnesium deficiency more reliably. This test is widely available in most laboratories.

The study underlines the decades-long trend of increased dietary calcium intake in the American population, not adequately balanced with a corresponding increase in magnesium intake. This dietary imbalance has resulted in a widespread magnesium deficiency among adults. Moreover, the rising dietary calcium-to-magnesium ratios, coupled with evidence suggesting that calcium supplements not balanced with magnesium may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, raises concerns about the overall cardiovascular health of the population.

In conclusion, the study provides compelling evidence of the critical role magnesium plays in heart health, specifically highlighting its association with coronary artery calcification. The call for increased awareness about magnesium deficiency, the importance of RBC magnesium testing, and the need for balanced dietary intake of magnesium alongside calcium emerges as imperative in mitigating the risk of heart disease. As the American population grapples with increasing rates of heart-related issues, addressing magnesium deficiency could potentially prove to be a significant preventive measure.


Low magnesium associated with coronary artery calcification
Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN 
Back to blog