High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects millions of people and is a significant public health concern. Also known as the silent killer, high blood pressure has no obvious symptoms but can lead to a host of serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke. Now, however, scientists have found that taking magnesium supplements can lead to reductions in a person's blood pressure, and that the amount of reduction was related to the dosage.

In a recent study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers carried out a meta analysis of 22 clinical trials that examined over 1,170 people in order to gain a better understanding of how magnesium may affect blood pressure. The amount of magnesium taken by the subjects varied from 120 mg to 973 mg, and the time frame of the studies ranged from 3 to 24 weeks of follow-up.

What they found was that while the individual studies did not show a significant reduction in blood pressure, when the trials were combined, the overall data showed that supplemental magnesium reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with the higher doses resulting in a greater effect.

Blood pressure is a the measure of the force that blood exerts on your arteries with each pump of the heart, and is related to the amount of fluids that are retained by your body. It is important to know your blood pressure, because a person can have high blood pressure (HBP) even when they are feeling fine.

Blood pressure is measured by systolic and diastolic pressures, with systolic referring to when the heart beats and diastolic referring to when the heart is at rest between beats. Blood pressure is indicated as systolic/diastolic pressure, such as 120/80, which is normal. It is instructive to keep in mind that blood pressure can change throughout the day, and is influenced by your age, lifestyle, and diet.

The most important thing is to keep the overall level of blood pressure within a normal range, because once it begins to hover above 120/80, a person increases their risk for hypertension. Fortunately, there are numerous measures that a person can undertake to help keep blood pressure under control, the most straightforward of which is maintaining a normal body weight. This is best accomplished by staying active and eating a healthy diet that is lower in salt. It is also best to avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.

Before embarking on any exercise plan or changing your diet, which includes the taking of supplements, consult with your physician. For more information about high blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider and visit the website for the American Heart Association.