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Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;61(2):102-10.

Magnesium: novel applications in cardiovascular disease--a review of the literature.

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Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Medical College and Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Magnesium is an ubiquitous element and its formulation determines its efficacy and administration. It is used for gastrointestinal and obstetric disease and recently cardiovascular and neurological indications have also been explored. The role of serum/dietary magnesium intake on cardiovascular disease, carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), hypertension (HTN) and cholesterol synthesis has been investigated. Despite differences in patient populations, some observational and interventional studies have suggested that low serum/dietary magnesium is associated with higher CIMT and more cardiovascular risk factors. A few clinical and basic science interventional studies have also shown the benefits of magnesium administration in cardiovascular disease prevention and as a neuroprotective agent. Low magnesium levels have been implicated in inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Hypomagnesemia results in increased C-reactive protein and cytokine exaggeration, increased nuclear factor kappa B and platelet dysfunction, which can lead to thrombosis. Magnesium appears to play a vital function in cardiovascular stability and health, but an optimal dose and formulation has not been defined. Potentially promising avenues include the combination of magnesium with a statin to reduce cholesterol, C-reactive protein and CIMT, and its early use to reduce stroke morbidity and mortality. Understanding the role of magnesium in inflammation and mineralization and how it has the potential for playing a role in modulating cardiovascular and neurological disease can be a new frontier in medicine.

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