The nutrient in your veggies could keep your blood pressures in check, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“There’s some evidence that there’s a relationship between magnesium and blood pressure,” says Robert Hausman, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of California, San Francisco.
Hausman co-authored the study with Dr. Steven F. McEwen, MD, PhD. He and Hausmann were looking at how the dietary habits of Americans differed across age, race and income.
The researchers found that higher magnesium intake was associated with lower blood pressure.
“I think that’s the best data we have on the effect of magnesium,” says McEwing, who was not involved in the study.
McEwen says the study showed that the effect was not due to a reduction in the amount of magnesium in the blood.
It was due to better absorption of the mineral, which was why it was beneficial to eat higher in magnesium and not less.
“People who consume higher amounts of magnesium may actually be getting less from their diet, whereas people who consume lower amounts of it might be getting more,” he says.
McGraw adds that the study also showed that people who eat high in vitamin C were less likely to be having blood pressure problems.
“Vitamin C has been associated with reducing blood pressure in some studies,” he explains.
“But we don’t know exactly what the relationship is between vitamin C and blood pressures.”
He adds that it is important to get vitamin C from foods rich or low in magnesium.
“It’s important to be aware of what you’re getting and avoid those foods,” McGraw says.
In the study, the researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the early 1990s.
They asked participants how many servings of fruits and vegetables they ate each day.
Participants were then asked about their magnesium levels and whether they had taken supplements containing magnesium.
The researchers found high levels of magnesium were associated with better blood pressure control, even when the researchers controlled for other dietary factors.
“We were able to isolate the relationship between dietary magnesium intake and blood levels of [magnesium],” McEwan says.
The findings are not just observational.
It suggests that magnesium supplements can help improve blood pressure management.
McHausmann notes that people with magnesium levels higher than normal, such as those who take magnesium supplements, are more likely to experience hypertension problems.
The new study is the latest in a series of studies to show that high levels in the body of magnesium, particularly in the brain, can improve blood pressures.
“Mood is important,” says Hausmans co-author.
“The brain is the organ that makes decisions.
The brain is what we make decisions in, and when you have high levels that are impacting your decision-making ability, you’re more likely not to be as effective at making decisions.”
The study is not meant to replace medication, Hausmen adds.
“We’re not recommending that people stop taking medication.”
He says the results are important to remember, as there are other benefits of magnesium.
The study found that people on the magnesium pill had lower blood pressures on average than people on placebo pills, which is good news for people with low magnesium levels.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.