Magnesium and Blood Pressure – What You Need to Know
Increase magnesium levels by consuming the right foods
Does magnesium lower blood pressure, or should you not worry about it? Here is what the research says about magnesium and blood pressure.
The Importance of Magnesium – A Personal Experience
High blood pressure runs in my family. I was personally diagnosed with hypertension in middle school. I was prescribed medication; but like many college students, I neglected my health after high school and stopped taking my pills. I was forced to start taking my medication again after I began developing random, massive nosebleeds in college.
But then, a few years ago, I developed heart palpitations, which sent me to the emergency room. My heart was trying to beat between beats – yes, very uncomfortable – and that’s when I discovered I had a magnesium deficiency. (By the way, here are 16 magnesium deficiency symptoms to take note of so you don’t suffer as I did.)
Unfortunately for me, adding magnesium to my diet produced minimal results (though that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t go that route). I was finally prescribed a heavy-dose magnesium supplement. All is well again, and now I’m anal-retentive about picking foods rich in magnesium at the supermarket.
Magnesium wasn’t something I’d ever given any thought to before my heart palpitations started. Yeah, I then realized how important the link between magnesium and blood pressure is. Now I know my body needs this essential mineral for muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control (vitally important for diabetics like me), and, yes, blood pressure control. 
If you don’t have enough magnesium in your body, you can experience the following symptoms:
- Calcium deficiency
- Poor heart health
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Type II diabetes
- Respiratory issues
- Potassium deficiency
- Difficulty swallowing
- Poor memory
Magnesium and Blood Pressure – What the Research Says
New research finds that magnesium supplements may indeed lower blood pressure.
In a meta-analysis, a group of researchers led by Dr. Yiqing Song, an associate professor of epidemiology at Indiana University, looked at 34 studies having a combined total of more than 2,000 patients.
All the studies were double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. In other words, some of the subjects in each study received a placebo instead of magnesium, and neither the participants nor the investigators knew who had been given the supplements and who had been given the placebos.
The participants were given between 240 and 960 milligrams of magnesium daily, and the studies ranged in duration from three weeks to six months.
As reported by LiveScience:
“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.)” 
The research team concluded after further analysis of the data that taking 300 mg of magnesium supplements per day for a month could both lower blood pressure and result in higher magnesium levels in the blood.
The researchers wrote:
“Our findings support a causal anti-hypertensive effect of [magnesium] supplementation in adults.” 
The team added that the mechanisms for how magnesium lowers blood pressure “have been confirmed by laboratory studies.” For example, magnesium helps prevent blood vessels from constricting, which can increase blood pressure; and it has been demonstrated to improve blood flow.
However, the team noted that magnesium supplements may have an effect only if someone doesn’t get enough of the mineral in his or her diet.
“Consistent with previous studies, our evidence suggests that the anti-hypertensive effect of magnesium might be only effective among people with magnesium deficiency or insufficiency.
Such suggestive evidence indicates that maintenance of optimal magnesium status in the human body may help prevent or treat hypertension.” 
Nieca Goldberg, M.D., of the New York University Langone Medical Center, said the study is interesting “because the DASH diet, which is often prescribed to people with high blood pressure, features magnesium-rich foods.”
To fulfill this magnesium and blood pressure relationship, she recommends that people with hypertension make it a point to eat foods such as eggs, chicken, nuts, halibut, shrimp, and spinach to ensure that they get the proper amount of magnesium.
The recommended daily amount of magnesium is about 400 mg/d for adults. 
 MedPage Today
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.