Background: Mental pressure and stress represent an ever-increasing socio-political challenge. The heart rate variability (HRV) measurement, which has its origin in the cardiac function diagnosis, gives information on the neurovegetative activity. A low HRV shows an imbalance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic efferents and thus is an indicator of stress.
Method: A randomized, controlled, two-armed parallel study with 100 participants and a period of 90 days was performed. Main object of investigation was to what extent the mineral magnesium, which is also a high-quality natural calcium antagonist in cardiology, can influence the sympathovagal balance, when given in combination with a strength-endurance training. The effect on intracellular magnesium concentration was investigated as an additional parameter.
Results: In the group with daily supplementation of 400 mg of magnesium, HRV parameters clearly increased: pNN50 - an indicator of parasympathetic activity - increased. LF-HF ratio as well as stress index - low values for each represent a good balance of the vegetative nervous system - decreased. In the control group no positive changes in HRV parameters could be shown. Vagus activity, and thus the adaptive and regenerative capacity of the body, veritably increased by magnesium supplementation. No effect on the intracellular magnesium concentration could be shown in the study.
Conclusions: The results of this study point out that persons with mental and physical stress can benefit from a daily intake of magnesium. This might lead to an improved physiological regulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic efferents and, furthermore, prevent magnesium deficiency and diseases such as, for example, restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, sleep disorder or depression.
Keywords: heart rate variability (HRV); magnesium supplementation; stress; vegetative nervous system.