A study published in the January 2004 issue of the American Heart Association journal, Stroke, found that a deficiency in the essential mineral magnesium is associated with an increased incidence of neurologic events including stroke in individuals with peripheral artery disease who are at high risk for complications of atherosclerosis.
Researchers in Vienna, Austria followed 323 men and women with peripheral artery disease and intermittent claudication for a median of twenty months to determine the incidence of ischemic stroke and/or carotid revascularization (endarterectomy or stenting of the carotid artery). Serum magnesium levels were ascertained at the study’s onset. The aforementioned neurologic events occurred in 11 percent of the subjects, with stroke occurring in fifteen participants, carotid revascularization occurring in thirteen and stroke with subsequent revascularization occurring in seven.
It was found that subjects whose serum magnesium levels were in the lowest one-third of the study population (defined as less than 0.76 micromoles magnesium per liter) experienced a greater than three-fold increased risk for neurologic events compared to those in the top third, while those whose magnesium levels were in the middle third did not experience an increased risk. Magnesium levels were not found to be associated with all-cause mortality or coronary events.
Epidemiological studies have revealed an association between magnesium deficiency and atherosclerosis. The findings from other studies suggest that dietary magnesium may help lower blood pressure and subsequently reduce the risk of stroke. The authors of the current study concluded that low serum magnesium levels are a risk factor for neurologic events in symptomatic peripheral artery disease patients and recommend, “ magnesium substitution therapy in those patients with advanced atherosclerosis.”
Source: Life Extension Foundation (LEF), online at www.lef.org.