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08/01/2004

Magnesium helps heart health and surgery recovery, says report

Research has revealed that the trace element magnesium has an important role to play in saving lives of coronary artery bypass surgery patients and that dietary magnesium is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Patients with good magnesium levels, who have undergone surgery to replace damaged sections of their coronary arteries, are less likely to die, or have a heart attack in the following year than those with poor magnesium levels according to a report in the American Heart Journal.

US researchers, in a large project spanning 30 years, have also shown that intake of this trace element in the diet also appears to cut the risk of coronary heart disease. Their findings, which indicate a strong link between good magnesium status and low levels of coronary heart disease, are reported in the American Journal of Cardiology.

The researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, USA, reported that patients with low magnesium levels experienced a two-fold increase in heart attacks and all-cause mortality rate as long as one year after surgery compared to those with normal magnesium levels. The study examined 957 patients who had cardiac bypass surgery for the first time.

In the long-term study men aged 45 to 68 were recruited as part of the Honolulu Heart Programme and their dietary intake of magnesium was assessed. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine identified 1,431 incident cases of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Differences in risk of CHD were clearly apparent within 15 years. Those with the lowest magnesium intake were twice as likely to have had a CHD problem as those with the highest intake.

Health experts suggest a RDA of around 270mg per day of magnesium in the diet.

(SP)

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