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Low Serum Magnesium Linked with Atrial Fibrillation

Magnesium for Atrial Fibrllation patientsBy Lynn Haye

Important new findings from the Framingham Offspring Study link low levels of serum magnesium with an increased risk of developing A-Fib.

Coincidentally, they did not find a link between two other electrolytes, serum potassium or serum calcium, and A-Fib.

A variety of sources suggest that many people do not get the RDA for magnesium which is 420/mg day for males and 320/mg day for females.

The study authors note that this link, “….. has important public-health implications because the prevalence of A-Fib is increasing, and magnesium deficiency is common and potentially modifiable.”

Distinction Between Serum and Intracellular Magnesium Levels

Other investigations have also suggested that low magnesium levels play a role in heart arrhythmias, although there has been a distinction between serum and intracellular magnesium levels. If the link between low levels of serum magnesium and A-Fib proves to be correct, further research could determine the potential role for magnesium supplementation as an A-Fib preventive.

In fact, many A-Fib patients already take magnesium supplements as a way to ensure that they maintain adequate magnesium levels.

This new analysis of the Framingham Offspring Study followed 3,530 subjects over 20 years. The subject’s age and sex were accounted for and did not affect the findings. The results found that subjects in the lowest quartile of magnesium levels had a significantly higher risk of developing A-Fib than those in the highest quartile of magnesium levels.

The investigators advocate further research to confirm their findings and to explore the potential for magnesium supplementation as an aid in lowering A-Fib risk.

What This Means to You

Steve Ryan discusses Serum and Intracellular Magnesium Levels in his book, Beat Your A-Fib. There’s a big difference between the two. You could be deficient in Mg and your serum blood test looks fine.

In addition, may doctors are not conversant or comfortable advising patients about mineral supplements. So, once again, YOU must be your own best patient advocate. If you have A-Fib, find out more about Magnesium. Steve recommends two good books on his Recommended Books for A-Fib Patients Listmania on Amazon,com.

(BTW: if you use the portal link to purchase at, receives a small commission that’s applied to the maintenance costs of this site.)

Author, Lynn Haye, PhD

LYNN HAYE, Ph.D.  is a clinical psychologist and former A-Fib patient. She studies and writes about current trends in the treatment and diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and has a special interest in women’s health issues. Dr. Haye and her family live in Orange County, CA.

References for this article
Khan AM, Lubitz SA, Sullivan LM, et al. Low serum magnesium and the development of atrial fibrillation in the community: The Framingham Heart Study. Circulation 2012; DOI 10.1161/CirculationAHA.111.082511

Posted April 2013

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Last updated: Saturday, August 29, 2015

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