It’s probably happened to you before.
You tell your doctor about the vitamins and supplements you take. And he or she says there’s just no proof that they’re doing anything for you. (Or worse, they warn you that your supplements might actually be harming you.)
I hear stories like this from my patients all the time. And it disheartens me. Because statements like this really couldn’t be further from the truth.
Studies proving the safety and effectiveness of nutritional supplements appear in respected peer-reviewed journals every single day. If I can read the literature, why can’t my colleagues?
Take this research, which I shared back in December, for example.
This study of more than 7,000 older men and women showed that high magnesium intake (averaging 442 mg daily) lowered risk of death by any cause by 34 percent. (That’s compared to people who averaged around 312 mg of magnesium daily.)
This total risk reduction included a 59 percent drop in heart disease death. And a 37 percent drop in cancer death.
And it wasn’t the first study to come up with results like this, either. A study I shared last July showed similar reductions in heart disease risk.
Meanwhile, this 2012 study showed that magnesium cuts colon cancer risk by 11 percent. Another showed a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart-related death. And yet another showed that magnesium supplements deliver a significant reduction in stroke risk.
Now, you may be wondering, why magnesium? Well, I’m glad you asked.
For one thing, magnesium lowers high blood pressure—which happens to be a major risk factor for heart disease. It also prevents abnormal clotting, boosts endothelial function and circulation, and helps to fight inflammation.
And all of these benefits can add years to your life.
It’s not as if magnesium’s powers are any secret. Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) acknowledges this mineral’s role in maintaining muscle and nerve function, stabilizing heart rhythm, boosting immunity, and strengthening bones. (Not to mention its important role in blood sugar support.)
So why aren’t more doctors talking to their patients about it? There’s really no excuse for this kind of willful ignorance.
But even despite most mainstream doctors’ vow of silence on supplements, the information is making its way out there. Because estimates show that magnesium supplement sales climbed to over 65 billion dollars last year. (I like to think I had at least a little something to do with that.)
Unfortunately, though, these numbers aren’t nearly high enough. Because estimates also indicate that as many as 80 percent of Americans aren’t even hitting the official daily recommended intake of magnesium. (Which, like I’m always telling you, is already ridiculously low.)
So hardly anyone is getting the dose they really need—especially people with heart disease.
That’s why I have been recommending supplemental magnesium for patients with cardiovascular disease for ages. (And also why I was so pleased to see these studies pop up recently—even if they didn’t make front-page headlines.)
There are many different types of magnesium on the market. The ones I prefer for heart protection are the orotate and taurate versions. (Magnesium citrate is good to loosen your bowels, but it won’t do anything for your heart health.) Chelated magnesium is also acceptable.
I usually recommend 32 mg of magnesium orotate or 125 mg of magnesium taurate per day.
“Dietary Magnesium Intake Is Inversely Associated with Mortality in Adults at High Cardiovascular Risk.” J Nutr. 2013 Nov 20.