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Member Research and Reports

IU Bloomington Study Shows Positive Effect of Magnesium on Blood Pressure

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington recently completed a study in which they discovered that individuals with preclinical diseases like pre-diabetes and insulin resistance, and those with type 2 diabetes had significantly reduced blood pressure after taking magnesium supplements. The study, recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recorded a mean reduction of 4.18mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 2.27 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure among those who took the supplements for an average of about three months.

“While there has been great achievement in treating hypertension in the last few decades, high blood pressure still remains the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart failure. And, up to 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure and are at a much greater risk than the general population for developing heart disease,” said Mr. Daniel Dibaba, a doctoral student in the school and the first author of this study. “With this work, we were looking to find a way to help those with prediabetes, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes reduce and control their blood pressure.”

Mr. Dibaba, along with Dr. Ka He, chair and professor, and Dr. Pengcheng Xun, assistant scientist, both in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, looked at 11 randomized controlled trials and examined the effects of magnesium supplementation among more than 500 participants. The team found that those in the magnesium supplementation group significantly reduced their blood pressure as compared to the control group.

Magnesium is found in a variety of foods, including green leafy vegetables, almonds, beans and cereals. In addition, supplements are readily available over the counter.

Mr. Dibaba cautioned, “Even though these supplements are easily available and less expensive than prescription anti-hypertension drugs, patients with preclinical conditions or type 2 diabetes should consult their physicians about whether to add magnesium as a supplement.”

He notes that no major side effects were found in the study, but too much magnesium intake can have unintended health risks, such as too low blood pressure, diarrhea, and irregular heartbeat, and should be used with caution and under a physician’s supervision.

“The results of this study give us another option for those with insulin resistance, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other noncommunicable chronic diseases to fight against high blood pressure,” Mr. Dibaba explained. “By lowering their blood pressure, these individuals are improving their overall health and reducing their risk for heart disease in the future.”

The study was partially funded by NIH grant R01ES021735 to Dr. He and Dr. Xun.
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