However, because the research focused on magnesium in food, the authors stopped short of recommending that people take a daily magnesium supplement. It is possible that another aspect of the food is responsible for the finding.
What the results do suggest is that people eat a healthy diet with "magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains," said lead author Susanna Larsson, a professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Larsson and her colleagues combed through research databases spanning the last 45 years to find studies that tracked how much magnesium people ate and how many of them had a stroke over time.
For every extra 100mg of magnesium a person ate per day, their risk of an ischemic stroke -- the most common kind, typically caused by a blood clot -- fell by 9%.
The median magnesium intake for U.S. men and women included in the analysis was 242mg/day. The U.S. recommends men and women over age 31 eat 420 and 320mg/day of magnesium, respectively.
Larsson told Reuters Health that more in-depth studies are needed before researchers can say that.
Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of the stroke center at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., states that although the findings from reviews like Larsson’s are limited, they are consistent with what doctors typically recommend.
"It’s a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and grains," said Goldstein. "Those are things that have low sodium, high potassium and high magnesium."
"It’s again the diet per se, not any one individual component of the diet," Goldstein said
From the January 26, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.