Would you like a safe, effective way to regulate your blood pressure? Given that approximately one-third of Americans have high blood pressure and that more than half of individuals with high BP are not properly controlled, this seems like a question that has an easy “yes” response. One such option may be the use of magnesium supplements, which have been studied extensively for their ability to impact blood pressure.
You may be more familiar with magnesium’s role in boosting bone health (along with calcium and other minerals), relieving menstrual cramps, assisting glucose metabolism (and thus help with diabetes), and maintaining heart muscle. In addition, this mineral appears to play a role in affecting blood pressure.
The findings have been all over the map, however, with some researchers claiming magnesium can play a significant part in regulating blood pressure while others say the opposite or that the impact is minimal at best. Consider the findings of a Harvard study in which more than 3,500 middle-aged adults from the Framingham Heart Study cohort were evaluated. The authors found that low levels of serum magnesium were not a risk factor for hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
The authors of another study (a meta-analysis) published in Hypertension at around the same time reported that individuals who got sufficient magnesium had lower blood pressure after three months when compared with those who did not take the supplements. Overall, more than 2,000 patients were included in the analysis, and the range of supplementation was between 240 and 960 milligrams daily.
The investigators noted that 368 mg of magnesium daily for three months lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 mmHg. Further evaluation led the authors to conclude that 300 mg of magnesium daily for 30 days could produce lower blood pressure along with higher blood magnesium levels.
Some research indicates magnesium may have an even more impressive impact on regulating blood pressure. In a meta-analysis of 22 trials conducted in the United Kingdom, investigators reported that overall, magnesium (a mean of 410 mg; range, 120-973 mg) resulted in a 3 to 4 mmHg decline in systolic and a 2 to 3 mmHg decline in diastolic blood pressure. The decrease was higher in crossover trials and when individuals took more than 370 mg/day. These figures were considered to be clinically significant by the authors of the analysis.
So what can we take from these studies? Supplementation with magnesium appears to have a positive impact on blood pressure, although not a large one. If you or a loved one has high blood pressure or needs help with blood pressure regulation, use of a magnesium supplement could be an effective choice. You should discuss the most appropriate dose with a trusted healthcare provider.
[Editor’s Note: Natural Vitality, our sponsor, has a variety of flavors of magnesium powders you simply add to cold or hot water for an easy way to increase your magnesium intake. Visit their website to learn more.]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure fact sheet.
Kass L et al. Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2012 Apr; 66(4): 411-18
Khan AM et al. Lack of association between serum magnesium and the risks of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. American Heart Journal 2010 Oct; 160(4): 714-20
Zhang X et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials. Hypertension 2016 Aug; 68(2): 324-33