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Higher serum magnesium concentrations reduce the risk of having a brain aneurysm.

A brain aneurysm is a weakness in a blood vessel in the brain that swells and fills with blood. If the aneurysm ruptures, it releases blood into the spaces that surround the brain. This bleeding can cause many complications, including hemorrhagic stroke, brain damage, coma, and even death. Evidence from a 2021 study suggests that higher serum magnesium concentrations reduce the risk of having a brain aneurysm.

Magnesium is an essential mineral and a cofactor for hundreds of enzymes. Found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds, magnesium participates in many physiological processes, including energy production, protein synthesis, ion transport, and cell signaling. Magnesium deficiency is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. Genetic variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) influence magnesium status.

The investigators conducted an analysis using Mendelian randomization, a research method that provides evidence of links between modifiable risk factors and disease based on genetic variants within a population. Mendelian randomization is less likely to be affected by confounding or reverse causation than other types of studies, but since it is based on assumptions, the likelihood of the assumptions must be taken into consideration. Their analysis focused on five magnesium-related SNPs identified in a genome-wide association study in nearly 24,000 people of European ancestry. They found that for every 0.1 mmol/L genetically predicted increase in serum magnesium concentration, the risk of having either a ruptured or unruptured brain aneurysm decreased 34 percent.

These findings suggest that higher magnesium concentrations reduce the risk of having a brain aneurysm. Learn more about the importance of magnesium in this episode featuring Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

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