By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
November 10, 2017
- These nearly invisible deficiencies can stop your heart from beating
- 98% of us don’t get enough of this heart-regulating nutrient
- The other forgotten mineral that can re-energize your heart
The way we still treat chronic heart disease these days is very short-sighted. It zeroes in on certain short term acute preventive measures that usually involve dangerous prescription drugs to lower cholesterol, thin the blood, control blood pressure and so on.
But if you read last Wednesday’s issue Advanced Natural Medicine, you discovered that low levels of calcium could potentially lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
And guess what?
You can take all the heart-protective drugs your doctor prescribes. But unless you correct that underlying calcium deficiency, those meds won’t do a thing to save your heart – or your life.
So today I would like to talk about two more minerals that don’t get a lot of news these days.
They’re boring. Some experts even call them “orphan” nutrients. That’s because they’ve practically been forgotten when it comes to maintaining a steady heartbeat and healthy cardiovascular system.
However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t vital to your heart health, especially if you’re on common diuretic medication or haven’t yet brought real whole food into your life.
98% of Us Don’t Get Enough of this Heart-Regulating Nutrient
Potassium works together with calcium and magnesium to “charge up” the electrical tissue in your body. Without that “charge”, your heart muscle wouldn’t be able to contract or hold a steady beat.
In other words, healthy potassium levels are absolutely necessary to regulate heart contractions.
But as crazy as it might sound, latest estimates indicate that more than 98% of U.S. adults aren’t getting enough potassium each day. Thus, it stands to reason that almost everyone here in the U.S. is deficient of this heart-healthy mineral.
This is not a good thing.
If you’re one of the 98% running low on this mineral, it can place you squarely at risk of a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia. Even worse, potassium deficiency can increase your chances of a cardiovascular-related death by up to 10 times.
Potassium also has other important roles in your cardiovascular health. It not only helps keep your blood pressure at normal levels. We’ve also just learned that it can help prevent hardening of the arteries. These are both vitally important to your cardiovascular health.
I don’t recommend supplementing with potassium unless you are advised to do so by your physician (take the blood test) since too much potassium can be as dangerous as too little. However, getting more of it in your food is a no-brainer.
It’s not hard. Just eat more beans, avocado, prunes, (yes I know Aunt Mollie was right) and artichoke. Mangoes, sweet potatoes and bananas are also good choices.
The Other Forgotten Mineral that can Re-Energize Your Heart
Depending on which statistics you look at, somewhere between 50% and 75% of Americans are running low on magnesium. And that’s a shame.
Magnesium(Mg) is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. One example: Our primary energy source ATP has to bind with magnesium ions in order to work. To be biologically active in say cardiac muscle fibers and everywhere else in the body we must form Mg-ATP. So one of its most critical roles is when it comes to maintaining a normal heart function.
When magnesium levels are low, you’re more likely to experience irregular heart beat, higher blood pressure and accelerated plaque build up. A magnesium deficiency could even increase your risk of sudden cardiac death by more than 50%.
Well, here’s the thing. Unless you enjoy eating a lot of nuts, seeds, beans and green veggies, your magnesium levels are probably below par.
On the other hand, it’s easy enough to boost your levels with a magnesium supplement.
I generally recommend 5 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight. Take it in divided doses throughout the day. Look for ones that end in “ate”… as in glycinate, threonate, malate, citrate and so forth. I like to take combinations of these in the same supplement or rotate 2 or 3 different ones throughout the month. While the glycinate may be the most absorbable for many people, citrate is usually preferred by the sluggish bowel movers amongst us.
Don’t deprive yourself of these life-sustaining minerals that can help reduce your chances of a heart-related health issue that could send you to early death. Add these minerals to your next blood tests; serum potassium and calcium and red blood cell magnesium After all… a healthy heart equates to a long and healthy life.
Cogswell ME, et al. Sodium and potassium intakes among US adults: NHANES 2003-2008. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):647-57.
Kjeldsen K. Hypokalemia and sudden cardiac death. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2010 Winter; 15(4): e96–e99.
A need for bananas? Dietary potassium regulates calcification of arteries. News Release. University of Alabama at Birmingham. Oct 2017.
D’Elia L, et al. Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Mar 8;57(10):1210-9.
Rosanoff A, et al. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr Rev 2012;70(3):153-64.
Kieboom BCT, et al. Serum Magnesium and the Risk of Death From Coronary Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Death. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Jan; 5(1): e002707.