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Magnesium helps keep heart arteries healthy

Earlier lab and animal studies found magnesium may prevent plaque buildup in arteries, but doctors know little of its effect in humans.

In this study, 2,695 participants, aged 42 to 64, without cardiovascular disease, reported their diets and underwent X-ray CT scans to measure coronary artery calcification and abdominal aortic calcification, two key areas where plaque builds up.

Doctors adjusted for differences in health and family histories, lifestyle, and other factors, and found that a 50 mg increase in total magnesium per day lowered chances of coronary artery calcification by 22 percent and chances of abdominal aortic calcification by 12 percent. Comparing those with the most magnesium in the diet to those with the least, chances for having any coronary artery calcification at all were 58 percent lower, and for any abdominal aortic calcification at all, 34 percent lower. Women seemed to benefit most from better levels of magnesium in the diet. 

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