Although it’s been known that specific dietary deficiencies increase a wide risk of diseases, the US population continues to consume a diet high in carbohydrate and deficient in multiple nutrients. This is especially true of magnesium.

Magnesium is the 8th most common element in our environment and is required for effective cellular function in all types of human cells. Magnesium (Mg) is a critical co-factor  for hundreds of enzymes that are involved in glucose metabolism, nucleic acid synthesis and protein production.

Hypomagnesemia is associated with COPD, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease. A recent systematic review of magnesium and disease concluded that hypomagnesemia is associated with:

  • a 10% greater risk of coronary artery disease, and a 30% greater risk of heart failure
  • a 12% greater risk of stroke and that for each increase of 100mg/day increase of magnesium, there was a concomitant decrease in stroke risk by 7%
  • a 26% increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus

To increase dietary magnesium as a preventive measure, clinicians should be recommending to their patients, consumption of a diet high in:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • nuts
  • whole grain foods.

Recently, a study called the MIND diet1 recommended similar dietary modifications to improve cognitive function and slow the progression of cognitive decline by 30%. A second blog will focus on this diet and its evidence soon.


  1. Morris MC et al. “MIND Diet Associated with Reduced Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease” Alzheimers Dement. 2015 September ; 11(9): 1007–1014.

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