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HOMEMEDICINECardiovascular

Chocolate is Good for the Heart because it has Magnesium

Published on July 14, 2015

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New research and old research both have concluded that eating chocolate in modest quantities may be good for the heart. However neither researchers nor the medical press can bring themselves to tell the reason why quality chocolate is so good for the heart. It is because chocolate has magnesium in higher quantities than other foods.

New research has scientists in Britain looking at data from nearly 21,000 people who filled out questionnaires about their lifestyle, and had their health monitored for more than 11 years. Their average daily consumption was seven grams (0.25 ounces) of chocolate, ranging from none to 100g.

The top fifth of chocolate-eaters were 12 percent less likely to develop heart disease and 23 percent less likely to suffer a stroke compared to the bottom fifth of consumers, the researchers found.

Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff.  Smaller quantities confer less protection, but are still better than none, according to an older study, which appeared in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow. It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women. Research published in May of 2010 in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism said that something in dark chocolate seems to guard against the damage of a stroke.

Dr. Martin Lajous, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health admitted that the protective mechanism by which chocolate might prevent stroke isn’t yet clear. Researchers in the stroke study pegged a flavanol in chocolate called epicatechin as the active agent. It is amazing that none of these researchers fingered magnesium as the main agent in chocolate that has these powerful medical effects. One of the most important actions of magnesium is its vasodilating effects which improves the blood supply to ischaemic areas and reduces infarct size.

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A Journal of Internal Medicine study demonstrated that consuming chocolate can help ward off death if one has suffered a heart attack. “It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate” is the best Dr. Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm could come up with for explaining the life-saving properties of chocolate.

Magnesium deficiency appears to have caused eight million
sudden coronary deaths in America during the period 1940-1994.
Paul Mason

Scientists know that women’s bodies are known to crave for chocolate during PMS. Some researchers believe that women crave chocolate prior to menstruation because it contains magnesium. The medical journal for the American Heart Association, created a stir when it reported a study of 22 heart transplant patients who were given a dose of dark chocolate or fake chocolate. Just two hours after eating the real thing, patients had measurable improvements in blood flow and vascular function and less clotting, compared to placebo chocolate eaters, who experienced no change. Chocolate cravings are potentially a sign of a magnesium deficiency for chocolate is high in magnesium.[1]

A ten-year study of 2,182 men in Wales found that those eating magnesium-low diets had a 50% higher risk of sudden death from heart attacks than those eating one-third more magnesium.

Though it is widely accepted that chocolate affects our moods few make the correlation between magnesium and chocolate and thus magnesium and emotions.  People often report when eating chocolate that their mood is elevated and they feel better. This elevation in mood is temporary though, and when the effect wears off, subjects again reverted to their previous state of mind. It just so happens that depression and other emotional disorders are addressed directly with magnesium yet doctors write prescriptions for the most dangerous drugs instead.

Most would think that chocolate is not high enough in magnesium to be used medicinally and would be undesirable because of the high sugar and fat component of most chocolates but obviously this is not the case.  It’s hard to argue with the information that heart attack survivors who eat chocolate only two times per week can cut their risk of dying from heart disease threefold. Now imagine what we can do if we use concentrated forms of magnesium transdermally, orally and even inject it if a person’s life hangs in the balance either in the ambulance or emergency room.

[1] There are 88mg magnesium in 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate:  http://www.dfwnetmall.com/veg/magnesium-content-foods.htm

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Dr. Mark Sircus AC., OMD, DM (P)

Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

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