Magnesium supplements have a small but clinically significant effect on lowering blood pressure, according to data collected from 22 trials and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as having a systolic pressure above 140 and a diastolic pressure above 90. Magnesium supplementation was able to reduce the systolic number by 4 points and the diastolic number by 3 points. These might seem like insignificant numbers, but past data from pharmaceutical trials have found that a reduction of even 0.8 to 2 points is “clinically significant in reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.” The most favorable outcomes were found in those who took over 370 milligrams of magnesium per day.
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral, and is involved in more than 300 biochemical processes, including aiding in the formation of bones and teeth and regulating blood sugar levels. Even though it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, very little actually circulates in the blood or other tissues. Most of the body’s store of magnesium is confined to the hard outer layer of the bones.
Scientists think magnesium is able to help lower blood pressure because it may play a role in dilating the blood vessels. When blood vessels are constricted, the heart works harder to pump blood through the body, causing blood pressure to increase. Magnesium also helps to dissolve blood clots and prevent spasms in the heart muscle and blood vessel walls.