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Too Little Magnesium Tied to Artery Troubles

Deficiency could lead to atherosclerosis

SATURDAY, April 30, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Not having enough magnesium in your diet may increase your chances of developing coronary artery disease, study findings suggest.

In a study of 2,977 men and women, researchers used ultrafast computed tomography (CT scans) of the chest to assess the participants' coronary artery calcium levels. Measurements were taken at the start of the study -- when the participants were 18 to 30 years old -- and again 15 years later.

Coronary artery calcium is considered an indicator of the blocked-artery disease known as atherosclerosis.

Information about the participants' dietary intake of magnesium was gathered from nutritional databases. Other lifestyle information was collected from logs kept by the participants and from medical exams.

The study concluded that dietary magnesium intake was inversely related to coronary artery calcium levels.

Previous research found that changes in fat metabolism caused by magnesium deficiency are linked to the development of atherosclerosis and that magnesium intake is an important factor in controlling fat metabolism in the walls of arteries. Most dietary magnesium comes from dark green, leafy vegetables.

The researchers from Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago were to present their study Saturday at the American Heart Association's annual conference on cardiovascular disease, epidemiology and prevention.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dietary magnesium.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 30, 2005
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