Sudden cardiac death (SCD) accounts for half of all cardiovascular disease deaths in the U.S. Risk factors include hypertension, diabetes, smoking, family history of myocardial infarction, and obesity. However, most SCDs occur in those with no prior history of cardiovascular disease.1
Many studies have concluded that magnesium levels are inversely associated with blood pressure, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.2 Two recent studies independently concluded that low levels of magnesium are associated with higher SCD risk.
Researchers analyzed a baseline evaluation of 14,232 individuals 45 to 64 years old conducted in 1987-1989 (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study). After 12 years, they followed up and observed 264 SCD cases. They found that individuals in the highest quartile of serum magnesium were at significantly lower risk of SCD.3
In a separate analysis, researchers analysize the Nurses’ Health Study for 88,375 women who were free of disease in 1980. Information on magnesium intake, other nutrients, and lifestyle factors was updated every 2–4 years. In this analysis, higher plasma concentrations and dietary magnesium intakes were associated with lower risks of SCD.4
These studies suggest that higher magnesium levels have the potential to be protective against SCD. Researchers recommend further studies into effectiveness of magnesium supplementation or other interventions to lower the risk of SCD.