Page Loading...Please Wait

Magnesium deficiency - A principal driver of cardiovascular disease and poor immunity

January 11, 2021
Man using his muscles to climb tree with woman standing above him

Magnesium deficiency often goes undiagnosed. Furthermore, because of chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and the availability of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency.

Consequences of magnesium deficiency include hypertension, arrhythmias, arterial calcification, atherosclerosis, heart failure and an increased risk of thrombosis. Low dietary magnesium intake has also been related to the development of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. During the present pandemic it has been found that diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease are risk factors for the severity and mortality in COVID-19 infected people.

Magnesium plays a key role in immune function and magnesium supplementation, especially in those with low magnesium levels in their immune cells, may support a healthy immune response.

Immune cells, known as T killer cells help stop viruses (such as coronavirus) replicating by causing infected cells to die; a process known as apoptosis. It is magnesium that regulates the ability of T killer cells to stop viral replication and when there is magnesium deficiency, other immune cells release more inflammatory chemicals, known as cytokines, causing damage to healthy cells.

Type 2 diabetics have been found to be deficient in magnesium which may partially explain why they are more susceptible to RNA viruses.

Increasing magnesium intake

Certain foods are rich in magnesium and these include:

  • Green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach and kale)
  • Fruit (avocado and raspberries)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans)
  • Vegetables (green beans, peas, broccoli, artichokes and Brussel sprouts
  • Seafood (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
  • Whole grains (brown rice and oats)
  • Raw cacao
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tofu

Include magnesium rich foods at each meal to help boost magnesium. Aim to include at least two servings of vegetables with each meal. Reduce sugar, alcohol, refined foods to help up your magnesium intake.

You can increase your magnesium intake by taking supplements, and this may be beneficial for some people.