1. Magnesium fuels the heart:
To constantly pump blood outwards to our entire body and its systems, our heart requires tremendous energy. The energy molecules that fuel our heart are called ATP: Adenosine Triphosphate, and are made from our dietary fats and carbohydrates (glucose). Humans cannot make ATP without magnesium for two reasons:
- Magnesium is needed for all three cellular processes that convert glucose into ATP (they are: glycolysis, the krebs cycle, & oxidative phosphorylation). [3-6]
- In addition, an ATP molecule must be bound to magnesium in order for it to be biologically active. This means magnesium is an essential part of every ATP molecule as well. [3,7]
Furthermore magnesium plays a key role in preventing excess calcium from building up in our soft tissues like our heart. This is important to our heart’s energy supply because excess calcium in the cells of our organs slows down ATP production.
Simply put, magnesium is essential to our heart’s energy. This helps explain why the greatest concentration of magnesium is found in our heart; more specifically the left ventricle:
2. Magnesium protects our heart’s pump & regulates acidity:
Magnesium protects our heart’s pump
Because our heart’s left ventricle is what pumps blood out of our heart to the rest of our body, it needs the most magnesium of all parts.When our heart and ventricles lack sufficient magnesium, the energy deficit and resulting stress can cause inflammation and physical damage.
Not only has magnesium been shown to reduce inflammation and free radicals in heart tissue since the 1990s, but it also reduces harmful free radicals in our ventricles and preserves their function during acute stress.  This sheds light on why low magnesium is a powerful risk indicator of poor ventricular health independent of any other cardiovascular risk factors , and why magnesium helps to suppress potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmia [13-15]. Magnesium has also been suggested as a treatment for ventricular tachycardias and supraventricular tachyarrhythmias.
Simply put, magnesium is especially vital to our heart’s ventricle/pump which sends out blood, oxygen and nutrients to the rest of our body.
Magnesium regulates heart acidity & rhythm
Enzymes are the molecules that facilitate our vital functions. Alkaline phosphatase is a critical enzyme which regulates our heart’s pH, preventing it from becoming too acidic. This explains why irregularities in alkaline phosphatase are related to the dysfunction of our ventricles, and are independently related to cardiovascular mortality.
Both magnesium and zinc facilitate this enzyme’s function [20-23] and regulate its activity under various conditions.
Magnesium also regulates our heart’s pacemaker – the sinoatrial node – which sparks our heart beat, and maintains its rhythm.[25-27] This can be attributed to magnesium’s antagonistic relationship with calcium in the body[28-36] as well as its regulation of the HCN channels which facilitate the sinoatrial node’s pace-making function.
Simply put, magnesium is essential to heart health by regulating two of its most critical functions: acidity and rhythm.
3. Magnesium prevents heart attacks:
Our heart, veins and arteries all consist of smooth cardiac muscle cells that depend on a consistent concentration of magnesium. Their rhythmic contraction and relaxation is what allows the ventricle to pump nutrient-rich blood throughout our body. The contractions depend on an influx of calcium, and the relaxation depends on magnesium. [40-43]
What happens in a heart attack? High calcium and low magnesium cause too much contraction with insufficient relaxation, leading to an eventual seizure of our heart’s muscle. This is also known as a myocardial infarction.
Magnesium’s role in heart relaxation explains why heart attack patients have low levels of magnesium  and why fatal heart attacks are more common when dietary magnesium is lower.
It’s no surprise that magnesium supplementation is critical for helping with, and preventing heart attacks[46-52] as well as preventing death from heart attacks and preventing the onset of recurring heart attacks.
4. Magnesium provides elasticity for our heart and blood vessels:
Magnesium is also critical to our cardiovascular system’s special physical characteristics, which are required to handle the constant, heavy flow of blood passing through them. There are three primary structural components that give them these characteristics:
- Smooth cardiac muscle provides their contractile properties.
- Collagen is the protein that gives them their structural durability.
- Elastin is the protein that gives them the elasticity they need to pump blood.
Magnesium is essential to the very existence of these three components, because all are made via the process of protein synthesis, and both phases of this process require magnesium:
- The RNA polymerase enzyme that prepares the genetic instructions for collagen, elastin and smooth cardiac muscle is magnesium-dependent. [54,55]
- The ribosome enzyme that translates the instructions into actual muscle, collagen, and elastin, also requires magnesium. [56,57]
In addition to creating our blood vessels, magnesium is also needed for the structural core of their elastin fibres, as well as their maintenance via its protective role against the harmful calcifying effects of excess intracellular calcium.[58,59]
Simply put, magnesium is vital to heart health via its role in the structure and function of our cardiovascular system, giving it musculature, durability, and elasticity.
5. Magnesium & atherosclerosis (clarifying cholesterol confusion):
Atherosclerosis & cholesterol misinformation
The public has been told that atherosclerosis (the degeneration of veins & arteries) is caused by dietary cholesterol. This falls apart when we understand that less than 25% of our cholesterol comes from diet, and our body MAKES the rest, and that if we eat and thus absorb a bit more, our body simply reduces its own production to keep levels where they need to be. [60-63]
In other words our body tightly regulates cholesterol levels. Thus, if we have high cholesterol, it’s not from eating too much of it. Rather it’s because our body is making more. This helps explain why the scientific literature clearly shows that dietary and serum cholesterol are not associated with heart disease.[64-68]
In fact these and various other sources[69,70], including carefully analyzed statistics from the World Health Organization show that HIGHER cholesterol intake is correlated with LOWER disease risk, and that cholesterol REDUCTION leads to an increase in total mortality rate.
Why do we make cholesterol? Because life depends on it:
- Vitamin D is made from cholesterol (known since 1949!)[73-77]
- All youth & sex/reproductive hormones are made from cholesterol. 
- All 100 trillion cellular membranes need cholesterol for their structure & function.
- The protective shield around nerve and brain cells (myelin sheath) is made of cholesterol,[79,80] and its deterioration is what causes multiple sclerosis[81-83] and neuropathy while higher total reduced risk of dementia cholesterol in older age is associated with a .
We need cholesterol, and a large 2015 meta-analysis which analyzed cholesterol studies since 1979 (spanning 17 populations totaling 361,923 people in 19 publications) has put an end to this cholesterol confusion, by making the following conclusions from all the data:
- Dietary cholesterol is NOT associated with heart disease.
- Dietary cholesterol INCREASES HDL – the “good” cholesterol.
This is why various dietary guidelines regarding cholesterol [86-88] – including those of the U.S. have been updated to reflect this . If dietary cholesterol doesn’t cause atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, then what does? And how is magnesium deficiency involved?
How atherosclerosis occurs
The scientific community defines atherosclerosis as a “chronic inflammatory process in combination with fibrous degeneration” which affects medium and large blood vessels with inflammatory lesions. Here is a more reasonable theory for how atherosclerosis develops:
1. Environmental, psychological, physical and dietary factors result in biological stress which causes inflammation in the cells of our blood vessels, disturbing their calcium/magnesium balance. The cell’s calcium rises and its magnesium drops.
2. The inflammation and excess calcium cause physical damage to the blood vessel’s elastin and collagen. This is the “fibrous degeneration” mentioned in the scientific definition of atherosclerosis.
3. Our blood vessels’ energy factories (mitochondria) malfunction from the inflammation, calcification, damage and low magnesium. Thus the blood vessels don’t have enough energy & magnesium for the process of protein synthesis that’s needed to make extra elastin and collagen to repair itself.
4. Our body now sends cholesterol to the blood vessel, whose anti-inflammatory effects and structural properties are a last resort to reduce inflammation and fill in the areas of collagen and elastin deterioration. And while veins and arteries do in fact become more narrow in response to cholesterol’s repair mechanism, the reality is:
Narrowed arteries due to cholesterol repair, are better than…
…arteries with holes from collagen and elastin deterioration (which lead to death if not repaired).
In the efforts to sell cholesterol-lowering drugs, the pharmaceutical industry via the media and their penetration of the medical establishment have lead us to believe that cholesterol – a vital substance that prevents atherosclerosis from causing death – is actually the cause, when scientists know that the true cause of atherosclerosis is inflammation. This leads us to why magnesium deficiency is so closely related to atherosclerosis:
Magnesium deficiency & atherosclerosis
While magnesium alone may not solve atherosclerosis, it is also true that none of the problems that contribute to atherosclerosis can be resolved without magnesium:
1. Inflammation is the main cause: magnesium fights inflammation because on its own it is highly anti-inflammatory and because it synthesizes our two main anti-inflammatory molecules: Glutathione[91-94] and Melatonin[95-102]. Simply put magnesium fights inflammation in our body (short and long term).[103-105]
2. Excess calcium & low magnesium prevent sufficient energy production for making extra collagen and elastin. Magnesium regulates and prevents excess calcium in our cells, facilitating optimal mitochondrial energy production.
3. Cholesterol prevents the further deterioration of veins and arteries. Magnesium helps maintain healthy levels of HDL cholesterol[85,106-109], AND magnesium is required to make the main anti-inflammatory protein in HDL cholesterol: Apolipoprotein A-I. [110,111]
4. Let’s not forget the most basic factor: magnesium is critical for the synthesis and maintenance of elastin and collagen in our blood vessels, whose fibrous deterioration defines atherosclerosis in the first place. [54-59]
As we look at these major roles magnesium plays in our cardiovascular health, it helps us see why magnesium deficiency is linked with cardiovascular inflammation, damage and atherosclerosis[112-116]. Simply put, healthy magnesium levels are a requirement in combating heart disease.
6. Magnesium stops calcification of our heart & arteries:
We know that calcium primarily belongs in our bones and teeth, with small amounts being used in our tissues. In excess, it causes serious damage inside the cells of these tissues including organs and blood vessels. This explains why calcium supplementation has been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease.[117,118] Thus we must be aware of magnesium’s role in keeping calcium out of these vulnerable cells. It does this in three different ways:
- Magnesium-dependent calcium pumps that remove excess calcium from cells.
- Magnesium increases calcitoninshuttles calcium into bones instead of tissues like blood vessels: a hormone that .
- Magnesium regulates parathyroid hormone to keep calcium in our bones and out of our tissues.
The fact is that magnesium prevents our organs, tissues and blood vessels from absorbing excess calcium and suffering the resulting damage. In fact not only does magnesium prevent calcification in heart muscle cells, but it has even been shown to reverse their calcification as well. What is critical to take from this?
It’s not ideal to take calcium supplements when deficient in magnesium because the calcium has a higher likelihood of entering our soft tissues. This helps explain why calcium supplements can increase the likelihood of vascular events including heart attacks.[121,122]
7. Solutions to restore magnesium & promote a healthier heart:
While restoring and maintaining healthy magnesium levels may not resolve your cardiovascular issues on its own, based on magnesium’s essential roles in cardiovascular health and function, it is still a major requirement for a healthy heart. A complete magnesium restoration protocol can include:
- Eating a magnesium-smart diet. Learn more
- Reducing the environmental, psychological and physical stressors that deplete magnesium from your body. Learn more
- Using a quality trans-dermal magnesium supplement to restore whole-body magnesium levels. Also, consider combining this with an oral magnesium-taurate or magnesium orotate supplement which are both beneficial to heart health. Learn more