Magnesium associated with lower risk for some strokes in male smokers

March 10, 2008

Male smokers who consume more magnesium appear to have a lower risk for cerebral infarction, a type of stroke that occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked, according to a report in the March 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Recent studies indicate that changes in diet may help prevent stroke, according to background information in the article. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for stroke; therefore, dietary measures that reduce blood pressure may in turn affect stroke risk. Consuming more magnesium, calcium and potassium has been associated with lower blood pressure in previous studies, while sodium has been positively associated with hypertension.

Susanna C. Larsson, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues analyzed the diets of 26,556 Finnish male smokers age 50 to 69 years who had not previously had strokes. In addition to the types of food they ate, the men reported other characteristics including medical, smoking and physical activity histories. Their height, weight and blood pressure were recorded, and a blood sample was taken.

During an average of 13.6 years of follow-up, 2,702 of the men had cerebral infarctions; 383 had intracerebral hemorrhages, which involve bleeding into the brain tissue; 196 had subarachnoid hemorrhages, or bleeding between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it; and 84 had unspecified types of strokes.

After adjusting for age and cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and cholesterol level, men who consumed the most magnesium (an average of 589 milligrams per day) had a 15 percent lower risk for cerebral infarction than those who consumed the least (an average of 373 milligrams per day). The association was stronger in men younger than 60 years. Magnesium intake was not associated with a lower risk of intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage, and calcium, potassium and sodium intake were not associated with risk for any type of stroke.

“An inverse association between magnesium intake and cerebral infarction is biologically plausible,” the authors write. In addition to lowering blood pressure, magnesium may influence cholesterol concentrations or the body’s use of insulin to turn glucose into energy. Either of these mechanisms would affect the risk for cerebral infarction but not hemorrhage.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Randomized trial suggests eating bread made with ancient grains could help lower cholesterol and blood glucose

Related Stories

Frequent nut consumption associated with less inflammation

July 29, 2016

In a study of more than 5,000 people, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have found that greater intake of nuts was associated with lower levels of biomarkers of inflammation, a finding that may help explain ...

Does ecology reach all the way down to the subatomic scale?

August 16, 2016

Imagine you could stop being human-sized for a while and shrink down to the size of a bacterium, roughly one-millionth of your current stature. At this scale, you would stop being bound by gravity and instead discover that ...

Recommended for you

Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice

October 27, 2016

Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency ...

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Mitochondria control stem cell fate

October 27, 2016

What happens in intestinal epithelial cells during a chronic illness? Basic research conducted at the Chair of Nutrition and Immunology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) addressed this question by generating a new ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.