Magnesium and cardiovascular system

Magnes Res. 2010 Jun;23(2):60-72. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2010.0202. Epub 2010 Mar 31.


Hypomagnesemia is common in hospitalized patients, especially in the elderly with coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or those with chronic heart failure. Hypomagnesemia is associated with an increased incidence of diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, mortality rate from CAD and all causes. Magnesium supplementation improves myocardial metabolism, inhibits calcium accumulation and myocardial cell death; it improves vascular tone, peripheral vascular resistance, afterload and cardiac output, reduces cardiac arrhythmias and improves lipid metabolism. Magnesium also reduces vulnerability to oxygen-derived free radicals, improves human endothelial function and inhibits platelet function, including platelet aggregation and adhesion, which potentially gives magnesium physiologic and natural effects similar to adenosine-diphosphate inhibitors such as clopidogrel. The data regarding its use in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is conflicting. Although some previous, relatively small randomized clinical trials demonstrated a remarkable reduction in mortality when administered to relatively high risk AMI patients, two recently published large-scale randomized clinical trials (the Fourth International Study of Infarct Survival and Magnesium in Coronaries) failed to show any advantage of intravenous magnesium over placebo. Nevertheless, there are theoretical potential benefits of magnesium supplementation as a cardioprotective agent in CAD patients, as well as promising results from previous work in animal and humans. These studies are cost effective, easy to handle and are relatively free of adverse effects, which gives magnesium a role in treating CAD patients, especially high-risk groups such as CAD patients with heart failure, the elderly and hospitalized patients with hypomagnesemia. Furthermore, magnesium therapy is indicated in life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias such as Torsades de Pointes and intractable ventricular tachycardia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / pharmacology
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Magnesium / metabolism*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Magnesium