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Importance of Magnesium in Drinking Water

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The 2006 International Symposium on Health Aspects of Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water will be addressing the possibilities of reducing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes through hard water consumption. Leading international experts on the epidemiology, dietary intake, biochemistry and health effects of magnesium and calcium are convening in Baltimore to explore the value, the treatment technology, practicality, and costs associated with adding magnesium and calcium to drinking water.Here are excerpts from two articles explaining the importance of magnesium in your drinking water.

“Minimum Magnesium Standard for Drinking and Bottled Water Would Save 150,000 Lives Annually” By Bill Sardi, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, May 1999

A small group of mineral water bottlers is pressuring the Food & Drug Administration to establish a minimum standard for magnesium levels in drinking water, a move that scientists confirm would save hundreds of thousands of lives annually and reduce health care costs by billions of dollars.

A recently issued National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report indicates nearly 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, an essential mineral that is required for the health of living cells and normal function of muscle and heart tissues. Magnesium is provided in foods such as dark-green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts, but nutrition researchers say the over-processing of foodstuffs and the use of phosphates in cola soft drinks have led to mineral deficiencies, particularly shortages of magnesium.

The National Academy of Sciences has just released their recommendation to increase Recommended Daily Allowances for magnesium.alkaline mineral water

Drinking water is the likely dietary component to provide magnesium since water is a regular dietary constituent and magnesium is up to 30% more bioavailable in water. The NAS report confirms an earlier 1977 NAS recommendation that the addition of magnesium to bottled and municipal drinking water may prevent up to 150,000 deaths from heart attacks per year…..

"Watering Your Heart: How a Little Magnesium May Help"from WholeHealthMd

High levels of magnesium in your drinking water may help to lower your your risk of death from a heart attack.

That's the conclusion of a national survey from Sweden. Data suggested that participants living in areas with the highest levels of magnesium in the drinking water had a 19% lower risk of death from heart attack than those who lived in areas with magnesium-poor water.

The Swedish national survey examined the magnesium content in drinking water in all municipalities. Researchers focused on 17 communities in southern Sweden whose water quality, based on water hardness, pH, and water treatment procedures, had been basically unchanged over the last 10 years.

The authors reviewed the records of men in their 50s and 60s who lived in the study area and who died between 1982 and 1989. A total of 854 men had died of heart attacks. These men were compared to a control group of 989 men who had died of cancer.

The subjects were divided into four groups based on how much magnesium and calcium was present in their drinking water. The number of deaths in the group with the highest level of magnesium was significantly lower in the heart attack group than in the cancer group. Calcium levels had no significant impact on heart health.

Magnesium appears to lower blood pressure and has been found to aid recovery after a heart attack by inhibiting blood clots, widening arteries, and normalizing dangerous heart arrhythmias.

Most people get magnesium through foods such as whole grains, seafood, beans, and leafy greens. Drinking water also supplies magnesium, though to a lesser degree than foods.

Despite the ready availability of magnesium in food and water, however, dietary intake of the mineral is generally below recommended levels. The RDA for magnesium is 350 mg for men and 280 mg for women, though higher doses are generally required for diease prevention or treatment, as well as for women who take oral contraceptives. For heart disease prevention, for example, about 400 mg a day is recommended by some practitioners. For arrhythmias or congestive heart failure, twice that amount may be appropriate.

It may be especially important to get magnesium though your tap water for two reasons. First, the magnesium in water is easily absorbed by the body. Second, loss of the mineral from food is lower when it is cooked in magnesium-rich water.

The researchers believe that future studies should investigate whether magnesium in drinking water is important for people in general, or if certain groups at high risk for heart attacks will benefit from high magnesium levels in drinking water.

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