Magnesium-Rich Foods Prevent Sudden Death

Most men and women who succumb to heart disease die suddenly without any known history of heart problems. As noted in my three minute video How Do Nuts Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death?, up to 55 percent of men and 68 percent of women have no clinically recognized heart disease before sudden death.

They obviously had rampant heart disease, however it just wasn’t recognized until they were lying on a slab in the morgue. So if there was ever a case to be made for primary prevention, the determination to start eating healthier right now – tonight – before the symptoms of sudden cardiac death arise is it. Especially since that first symptom is often the last. So how do we do it?

Our story begins 43 years ago with a fascinating paper in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Sudden Death and Ischemic Heart Disease: Correlation With Hardness of the Local Water Supply.”[1]

There appeared to be “an increased susceptibility to lethal arrhythmias [fatal heart rhythms] among residents of soft-water areas.” So maybe one of the minerals found in hard water is protective, but which one? Researchers decided to cut some hearts open to find out.

On autopsy, the hearts of the sudden cardiac death victims had significantly lower magnesium concentrations compared to people that may have been hit by a bus or suffered some other type of sudden death. The researchers thought there might be a connection, but it wasn’t put to the test until recently.

Why the decades long delay in testing a potentially cheap and simple way to help prevent our number one killer? That is exactly the problem: cheap.

Where is magnesium found? Magnesium is found in whole grains, greens, beans, nuts, and seeds. Who is going to fund the study? The pumpkin seed lobby? Big spinach?

If magnesium was found to be protective, who’s going to profit? Who’s going to benefit? Other than, of course, the hundreds of thousands of Americans who keel over dead every year without even being able to say goodbye to their families.

Watch this 3-minute video to see what new studies have discovered

Mineral of the Year–Magnesium

Videos with more on preventing sudden death:

Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped

China Study on Sudden Cardiac Death

Boosting Heart Nerve Control

Michael Greger, M.D., an author and internationally recognized speaker on healthy eating, has produced hundreds of nutrition videos available at Follow Dr. Greger on Twitter


[1] Anderson TW, Le Riche WH, MacKay JS. Sudden death and ischemic heart disease. Correlation with hardness of local water supply. N Engl J Med. 1969 Apr 10;280(15):805-7.


Michael Greger, M.D.

Author: Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, MD is a New York Times best selling author, physician and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety and public health issues.   Dr Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the International Bird Flu Summit and the National Institutes of Health. He has testified before Congress and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Dr Greger is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States.