Healthy Beginnings

Magnesium and Heart Disease: Magnesium’s Role in Preventing Life-Threatening Heart Problems

There are three things you need to know about magnesium and heart disease. One, magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the heart blood vessels, which can lead to heart attacks. Two, magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the peripheral blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure. Three, magnesium prevents calcium buildup in cholesterol plaque in arteries, which can lead to clogged arteries.

Obstetricians are quite familiar with the use of magnesium for high blood pressure in women about to deliver babies. Unfortunately, they aren’t talking to cardiologists or family doctors about the importance of using magnesium to treat and/or prevent hypertension and heart disease in the general population.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both American women and men. According to the American Heart Association, every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies of cardiovascular disease. That amounts to almost one million deaths annually!

More recently, an amino acid called homocysteine has been identified as the trigger of a cascade of bad effects that can lead to a heart attack. Elevated homocysteine levels can injure the lining of the blood vessels triggering an inflammatory process. This attracts “bad” (oxidized) cholesterol and calcium, which can build up into a solid scar leading to distorted blood flow and eventually a blockage.

Magnesium has a role to play in reducing homocysteine levels, preventing the damage and normalizing high blood pressure.

Angina describes a temporary episodic pain in the region of the chest or down the left arm due to lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. This is usually caused by a spasm in the coronary vessels, and can usually be relieved by rest or a dose of nitroglycerine.

James Pierce, PhD, believes he has identified the cause of a specific kind of angina because it occurs most commonly at two specific times in the day, early morning and late afternoon, coincidentally when magnesium levels are at their lowest. Dr. Pierce estimates that up to 50 percent of sudden heart attacks may be due to magnesium deficiency.

The best treatment for angina is prevention. By eliminating sugar, alcohol and junk food from your diet, you help prevent heart disease in part because these foods are lacking magnesium and only serve to create magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium has been studied for its effects on the heart since the 1930s and used by injection for the treatment of heart conditions since the 1940s. Doctors, who are looking for alternatives to drug therapy and its many side effects, are starting to look at the many studies that have been done since that time that have proven that the use of magnesium can treat and also help prevent life- threatening heart problems.

For more information, contact Reno Integrative Medical Center, 6110 Plumas St., Ste. B, Reno, at 775-829-1009 or


  1. Shechter M., “Magnesium and the cardiovascular system”, Magnes Res, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 60-72, 2010
  2. Wills MR, Magnesium and potassium, Inter-relationships in cardiac disorders, Drugs vol. 31, suppl. 4, pp. 121-131, 1986