Before answering if magnesium can reverse atherosclerosis, we have to get a deeper understanding of the condition. Atherosclerosis is a condition where a plaque is formed in the arteries. The plaque formation inside an artery leaves it clogged and prevents blood from freely flowing through. Arteries are the carriers of oxygenated blood in the body, which is needed for the organs to function. That is why clogged arteries are dangerous.
What is plaque in arteries?
Plaque formation is a complicated process. Blood carries with it various components that are required for the body, cholesterol is one among them. Cholesterol is required for building cells and various hormones. There are two major types of cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). LDL does not dissolve well in the blood and as a result, gets deposited in the artery walls. This is why doctors advise you to keep your LDL level low.
However, this itself is not called the plaque. The accumulated cholesterol gets the attention of the immune system that sends white blood cells to fight, which eventually dies in the process and accumulates along with the cholesterol. The artery wall responds to this fight by inflammation which results in the hardening of it. This is called plaque.
What does magnesium do?
Various studies have been conducted to see if magnesium can reverse atherosclerosis, primarily because it was suspected that it reduces calcification in the arteries. So, what is calcification? It is a process where calcium settles on the artery walls, narrowing the blood vessels as a result. This causes plaque similar to the one caused by cholesterol or it could add up to the already settled cholesterol in the artery causing it to harden.
For components to be carried by blood without depositing on the artery wall, other components are required. For example, a high amount of HDL helps blood to carry LDL more effectively. Similarly, magnesium is required for proper calcium absorption. So, the idea behind the studies was that it could remedy atherosclerosis by preventing calcification in arteries.
Can Magnesium reverse atherosclerosis?
There is no conclusive study that has proved that magnesium can reverse atherosclerosis. However, some small studies have shown some promising results. One particular study has shown reduced calcification in the people who took the prescribed amount of magnesium through diet and supplements. Some studies have shown that a low level of magnesium than the required could be a risk factor for atherosclerosis. But it only goes as far as to say that taking a magnesium supplement may prevent atherosclerosis.
Researchers have stated that bigger studies have to be conducted before they can come to any conclusion about magnesium’s role in atherosclerosis.
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