Comparison of Mechanism and Functional Effects of Magnesium and Statin Pharmaceuticals
Andrea Rosanoff, PhD & Mildred S. Seelig, MD
RESEARCH High plasma cholesterol has been acknowledged, since the mid-20th century, as a major heart disease risk factor. In the last few decades, further knowledge about cholesterol has shown that the cardiovascular risk factor is associated with a high level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) as well as a low level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), among other aspects of dyslipidemia, such as high triglycerides.
The Framingham Study found that low HDL-C is most predictive of heart disease, at least in middle aged men. However, in the 1990s, three groups of experts (American and International) developed guidelines to prevent cardiovascular disease that recommended target goals to lower LDL-C levels with diet and, if necessary, statin pharmaceuticals. The statin drugs, developed from the late 70s throughout the 80s, have provided patented products that facilitate an effective response to the medical objective of lowering LDL-C levels.
[Excerpt] ... Both statins and normal Magnesium (Mg) levels prevent clotting, reduce inflammation and prevent atherosclerotic plaques, but statins raise liver enzymes, can cause myopathy and have many other side effects, whereas Mg supplements tend to protect against myopathy and have temporary diarrhea or mild GI distress as the only side effect. An important comparison is also cost. Presumably, one should take statins life-long to maintain their pleiotropic benefits. Monthly cost of statin pharmaceuticals is at least $100 US while magnesium supplements cost less than $20 US per month.
- Statin medications inhibit the same rate-controlling enzyme of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway that requires adequate Mg for normal deactivation, regulation and control.
- Both the highly beneficial pleiotropic and adverse effects of statins appear to be caused by the decrease in mevalonate (and perhaps other intermediaries in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway) rather than a lower LDL-C.
- Statin drugs lower LDL-C levels more sharply than do Mg supplements, but Mg more reliably acts to improve all aspects of dyslipidemia including raising HDL-C and lowering triglycerides, and has the same pleiotropic effects as statins without their adverse effects.
Read complete 2004 clinical research at Journal of the American College of Nutrition. jacn.org