Hypertension During Pregnancy May Relate to Magnesium Deficiency

January 9, 2014

Researchers connect magnesium supplementation with healthier blood pressure readings in pregnant women.

By Robby Gardner, Associate Editor

Despite its many wonders, pregnancy exposes women to potential health complications-one of which is high blood pressure. But a link may be found in magnesium deficiency during pregnancy.

Writing in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, European researchers explain that blood pressure can shift quite significantly, with typical decreases during the first trimester and a return to pre-pregnancy levels during the third trimester. In as many as 10% of women, however, blood pressure increases around week 30 of pregnancy, and “If the systolic/diastolic blood pressure reaches 140/90, it is defined as pregnancy-induced hypertension.”

Hypertension during pregnancy can lead to eclampsia, if not other negative consequences, but these European researchers are questioning whether the risk of hypertension can be avoided with proper nutrition. To see if magnesium deficiency makes pregnant women especially susceptible to hypertension, the researchers recruited 61 first-time pregnant women to consume 300 mg of magnesium citrate or placebo, or control, from week 25 of pregnancy until child birth.

At week 37, the magnesium group managed an average diastolic blood pressure significantly lower than placebo (72 compared to 77), and fewer magnesium users held a diastolic blood pressure equal to or greater than 15mmHg (a predictor of pre-eclampsia). The researchers also observed an inverse relationship between magnesium excreted in urine and diastolic blood pressure. No significant differences were found in systolic blood pressure, which is generally the more fluctuating of the two blood pressure readings.

This isn’t the first time that magnesium deficiency has been tied to increased risk of hypertension, but studies have yielded both supporting and countering results. Furthermore, this study has limitations, including its small sample size and a lack of recording of dietary magnesium intake during pregnancy.

Protina Pharm. GmbH (Ismaning, Germany) provided Magnesium Diasporal supplements for the study. High amounts of magnesium can also be found in foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, and chard.