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Low Serum Magnesium Linked with Atrial Fibrillation

By Lynn Haye
First published Nov. 2013. Last updated: January 19, 2019

Important 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.

Framington Study: Learn more about this long-term, ongoing cardiovascular study of residents of the city of Framingham, MA, now celebrating its 70th year. See Framingham: The Study and the Town that Changed the Health of a Generation.

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.

When testing for a magnesium deficiency, there is a distinction between serum and intracellular magnesium levels.

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

The 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 A-Fib Patients

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.

May doctors are not conversant or comfortable advising patients about mineral supplements…be your own patient advocate.

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 the role of Magnesium and how a deficiency can cause heart arrhythmias. Steve recommends two good books on his Recommended Books for A-Fib Patients List on Amazon,com.

(BTW: if you use the A-Fib.com portal link to purchase at Amazon.com, A-Fib.com 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.

Reference 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 First posted April 2013

Return to Treatments/Mineral Deficiencies
If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Saturday, January 19, 2019

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