Low dietary magnesium may increase risk of high blood pressure

19 May 2017

Low dietary magnesium intake has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure.

Academics from the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. have found that habitual daily dietary magnesium intake in people with high blood pressure was lower than that of the general population and also lower than the recommended nutritional intake in both the U.K. and U.S.

Women with high blood pressure also had a significantly lower intake of dietary magnesium. However, the researchers also discovered that in general, study participants had a lower level of magnesium intake than recommended by health agencies.

Read more: Are you suffering from high blood pressure?

Study leader Lindsy Kass stated that magnesium is a key factor in blood pressure regulation, and the results not only show that dietary magnesium intake led to hypertension, but that people are not consuming enough of the mineral in their diets.

"Though recommended levels in the U.S. are higher than the U.K., the real issue lies with dietary intake and not with the recommendations themselves," she said, adding that the team now hopes to investigate more ways that magnesium impacts health. "It is important to understand how dietary magnesium impacts blood pressure as that way we can push initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness of this micronutrient, which may help to reduce blood pressure in the U.K."

Read more: Protein could help lower blood pressure

Magnesium is a mineral that helps turn the food we eat into energy and make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones important for bone health, work normally. Magnesium can be found in a variety of foods, including green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, brown rice, whole grain bread, fish, meat and dairy foods. The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) recommends men aged 19-64 years have 300mg a day, while women have 270mg per day.

The full study has been published in the World Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases.

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