Dennis Goodman, MD, FACC, is the clinical associate professor of medicine and director of the Integrative Medicine and Wellness program at New York University. He received his medical degree from the University of Cape Town School of Medicine, South Africa. He is board certified in cardiology, internal medicine, integrative medicine, and 4 other cardiology subspecialties. Goodman has published many peer-reviewed articles and is the author of Magnificent Magnesium: Your Essential Key to a Healthy Heart and More (Square One, 2013). Goodman is also a key member of the Albion Scientific Advisory Board.
As a cardiologist, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching which dietary supplements have strong scientific evidence behind them, and I have found that magnesium has an enormous amount of evidence to support its benefit for multiple conditions.
Magnesium is an important cofactor in more than 350 enzyme systems. The human body requires magnesium to convert ADP to ATP. ATP releases energy used by the body’s tissues, and the organ in the body that requires the most ATP is the heart. The cardiovascular system requires a lot of energy; the heart is beating more than 103,000 times per day and more than 37 million times per year.
Many studies show a significant correlation between people with low levels of magnesium and a higher incidence of heart attack and stroke.
Other studies connect magnesium with inflammation. Arteriosclerosis (blockages in blood vessels in the heart) is closely related to inflammation in the vascular system.
The medical literature provides a great deal of evidence that suggests magnesium is beneficial, and now that I have put hundreds of patients on magnesium, I have seen the evidence for myself. Unfortunately, many physicians are not educated in the importance of nutrients and supplements, so it is rewarding to see good science behind these benefits.
Not all forms of magnesium are created equal; the preferred forms are magnesium bisglycinate or di-magnesium malate. I recommend these chelated forms, which are the most bioavailable organic forms of magnesium.
As for dosage, I recommend 3 mg per lb for both women and men and up to 5 mg per lb under stressful conditions. If the patient is under a lot of stress, I increase that dosage because stress has been shown to deplete magnesium. On average, my female patients take 400 mg per day and my male patients take 500 mg to 600 mg per day.
I have seen magnesium help so many of my patients that I’m happy to debate its benefits with my cardiology colleagues any time. I’ve given some of my colleagues my book, and they have since put patients on magnesium and many are taking magnesium as well. That’s very rewarding. I am also pleased to have 2 new books on heart health coming out soon.
In general, magnesium is considered safe; however, patients with kidney disease need to be careful because they have difficulty eliminating magnesium. Physicians should also be aware that some prescription drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors, can deplete magnesium, so, patients on certain drugs should definitely supplement their diet with magnesium.