Getting enough magnesium may help keep blood pressure under control, a new meta-analysis of previous research finds.
People in studies who took magnesium supplements had lower blood pressure after three months compared with people who did not take magnesium supplements, according to the analysis, published in the journal Hypertension.
“With its relative safety and low cost, magnesium supplements could be considered as an option for lowering blood pressure in high-risk persons or hypertension patients,” lead author Dr. Yiqing Song, an associate professor of epidemiology at Indiana University, said in a statement.
In their meta-analysis, the researchers looked at 34 studies totaling more than 2,000 patients. All of the studies were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, meaning that some of the people in each study were given a placebo instead of magnesium, and neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the placebo or the magnesium. The studies ranged in length from three weeks to six months, and participants took between 240 and 960 milligrams of magnesium each day during their studies.
The researchers found that taking 368 mg of magnesium supplements daily for three months reduced people’s systolic blood pressure by an average of 2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and reduced their diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 mm Hg. (Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading; diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number.)
After further analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that taking 300 mg of magnesium supplements daily for one month could result in lower blood pressure and higher levels of magnesium in the blood.
“Our findings support a causal anti-hypertensive effect of [magnesium] supplementation in adults,” the researchers wrote. In other words, magnesium helps to prevent high blood pressure.
Indeed, the mechanisms for how magnesium lowers blood pressure “have been confirmed by laboratory studies,” the researchers wrote. The mineral helps to prevent blood vessels from constricting, which can increase blood pressure and has been shown to improve blood flow, for example.
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