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It is central to a healthy heart rhythm as it's involved in transporting calcium and potassium, into cells. Research shows that magnesium deficiency, or restricted magnesium intake, increases irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias.


Researchers have found that a low level of magnesium in the blood may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In addition, a review showed that a low magnesium level is associated with atrial fibrillation (afib), the most common heart rate disorder. Afib occurs when a malfunction in the heart's electrical system causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver.(1) This increases the incidence of CVA (stroke) and heart disease and heart attack.


The western diet is often low in magnesium due to the refining and processing of foods, and hypomagnesaemia is often underdiagnosed in hospitalised patients(3)


Because serum magnesium does not reflect intracellular magnesium, the latter making up more than 99% of total body magnesium, most cases of magnesium deficiency are 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(2).


Certain individuals will need to supplement with magnesium in order to prevent suboptimal magnesium deficiency, especially if trying to obtain an optimal magnesium status to prevent chronic disease(2).


If you suspect a magnesium deficiency, take to your health care practitioner about the need for dietary changes and or supplementation.


1. Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Screening for Magnesium Deficiency, Cardiology Research and Practice May 2019.

2. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis, Open Heart. 2018; 5(1)

3. Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, BMJ Open Heart Volume 5, Issue 2 2018

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