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Eating More Magnesium Could Lead to Fewer Strokes

Researchers have concluded that people who eat lots of greens and other foods rich in magnesium may have fewer strokes.

Lead author Susanna Larsson, a professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and her colleagues combed through research databases spanning the last 45 years to find studies that tracked how much magnesium people ate and how many of them had strokes over time.


They found that for every extra 100 milligrams of magnesium someone eats every day, their risk of an ischemic stroke — the most common kind, typically caused by a blood clot — dropped nine percent.

Study findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The median magnesium intake for U.S. men and women included in the analysis was 242 milligrams a day (mg/d). Currently, the U.S. recommends men and women over age 31 eat 420 and 320 mg/d of magnesium, respectively.

But before you run out and buy a bunch of magnesium supplements, remember that these studies focused on the magnesium found in food — and researchers aren’t sure it’s the magnesium within that food that’s responsible for their findings. Larsson said more in-depth studies are needed to make that determination.

Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of the stroke center at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, told Reuters Health that Larsson’s findings are consistent with what doctors typically recommend.

“It’s a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and grains,” said Goldstein. “Those are things that have low sodium, high potassium and high magnesium … It’s again the diet per se, not any one individual component of the diet.”

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