This may sound strange, but we want you to take a moment and Google “heart disease” and “hard water.” Go ahead! Then, take a moment and scroll through the articles that come up. (And, no, obviously not everything on Google is reliable. But you should be seeing some scientific journal articles come up pretty high on the list…)
What could hard water possibly have to do with heart disease? Minerals. In particular, high levels of calcium and magnesium. And many studies have found a correlation between harder water and lower levels of cardiovascular disease in communities.
If you want to read more about this, Dr. Mildred Seelig and Dr. Andrea Rosanoff explain it in greater depth in the first few pages of The Magnesium Factor (2003, p. 7-10).
Why does having more minerals in your water matter for your cardiovascular health? According to Seelig and Rosanoff (2003), “Heart muscle, when healthy, contains even more magnesium than other muscles do. And when magnesium levels become low, they can drop more in heart muscle cells than in other muscles [...] Blood vessel muscle cells need healthy amounts of magnesium to relax properly after each contraction. They can become stiff and inflexible if their magnesium gets too low” (p. 10). This happens especially if calcium (which tenses or stiffens muscles) is very high, perhaps through supplementation, and is not balanced out by high magnesium.
In Transdermal Magnesium Therapy (2011), Dr. Mark Sircus even goes so far as to say that “If you are interested in heart health you have no choice but to be interested in magnesium” (p. 29). He claims that, if magnesium in the heart muscle drops too much, it can cause rhythm disorders or even spasms and cramps (p. 30). In other words, it can cause angina and even heart attacks.
(For more details about how calcium and magnesium interact in heart muscle, check out this article entitled “Magnesium and Heart Disease: What’s the Link?” by Juliann Schaeffer. Schaeffer cites Seelig and Rosanoff, as well as sharing Dr. Carolyn Dean’s proposal that maintaining high levels of magnesium may actually be more important than being completely focused on cholesterol as is so common in cardiovascular medicine today.)
Magnesium deficiency is also an issue in diabetes and insulin resistance - we will cover that in another newsletter because there is so much information to include!
Does this mean that you can switch from taking your heart medication to taking magnesium? Definitely not - you’ll want to continue any current medications and talk to your doctor about adding magnesium - but it may be able to help! Are there any situations where magnesium is not appropriate to take? It may not be the right choice for you if you have very low blood pressure already or have a kidney condition. Also, it could be a problem for those taking blood thinners like Coumadin or Warfarin. In general, we always advise talking to your doctor about the magnesium (and the essential oils in our balms) if you are on medication!