Magnesium, Effective Alternative to Statins
December 23, 2009
The review, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2004, vol. 23, no. 5), compared the effects of magnesium supplementation and statin drugs on cholesterol biosynthesis.
Researchers at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, reviewed the inhibitory effect that magnesium (Mg) and statin drugs have on the cholesterol enzymatic reactions that convert the enzyme 5-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase) into mevalonate, a cholesterol substrate.
Studies have shown that reducing mevalonate formation effectively reduces low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and provides cardiovascular benefits.
In addition to lowering mevalonate, magnesium is involved in the activity of other lipid enzymes including lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase (LCAT), which helps increase high density lipoprotein (HDL, or 'good') cholesterol and decrease LDL ('bad') cholesterol and triglycerides; and desaturase, which converts essential fatty acids into prostaglandins and is important for cardiovascular health.
Magnesium also acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, which is essential for cardiovascular health.
"Mg has effects that parallel those of statins," write the study authors.
Since statin drugs have serious side effects (liver enzyme elevation and myopathy) compared to magnesium's minor side effects (diarrhea and mild gastrointestinal upset), magnesium supplementation may be an effective alternative to statin drugs.
1. Rosanoff A and Seelig MS. Comparison of mechanism and functional effects of magnesium and statin pharmaceuticals. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):501S-505S.