Hypertension is a complex condition in which various actors and mechanisms combine, resulting in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications that today represent the most frequent causes of mortality, morbidity, disability, and health expenses worldwide. In recent decades, there has been an exceptional number of experimental, epidemiological, and clinical studies confirming a close relationship between magnesium deficit and high blood pressure. Multiple mechanisms may help to explain the bulk of evidence supporting a protective effect of magnesium against hypertension and its complications. Hypertension increases sharply with advancing age, hence older persons are those most affected by its negative consequences. They are also more frequently at risk of magnesium deficiency by multiple mechanisms, which may, at least in part, explain the higher frequency of hypertension and its long-term complications. The evidence for a favorable effect of magnesium on hypertension risk emphasizes the importance of broadly encouraging the intake of foods such as vegetables, nuts, whole cereals and legumes, optimal dietary sources of magnesium, and avoiding processed foods, which are very poor in magnesium and other fundamental nutrients, in order to prevent hypertension. In some cases, when diet is not enough to maintain an adequate magnesium status, magnesium supplementation may be of benefit and has been shown to be well tolerated.
Keywords: aging; cardiovascular disease; diet; hypertension; insulin resistance; ions; magnesium; supplement.