Minerals for Stroke Prevention

By Jennifer Morganti, ND

Stroke can be an especially alarming health problem because it tends to happen without warning and can have sudden and serious consequences. Unfortunately, strokes are quite common—in the US, a stroke occurs once every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, an American dies from a stroke and 60% of them are women. So anything we can learn about stroke prevention and stroke warning signs is valuable in helping to lower those statistics.

There are two primary types of stroke. The most common one is caused by clots, which block off blood flow, and deprive the brain or heart of oxygen. The other type is caused by a rupture in a vessel that leads to internal bleeding, most commonly caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure. In either case, if a stroke isn't treated immediately, it can cause damage to the brain, seizures, or longterm reduced functioning.

There are minerals that may help reduce the risk of stroke; however, various studies on the topic have inconsistent conclusions. Recently, researchers tried to find some answers by reviewing the data collected in a very large study called the Nurse's Health Study I & II, which has spanned almost 30 years. The researchers pulled data from this study to determine how many women had a stroke over the duration of the 30 years, and calculated their intake (through diet and supplements) of the key minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. After analysis, they determined that women with the highest levels of magnesium and potassium (individually) had a significantly reduced risk of stroke as compared to the women with the lowest intakes of those minerals. Calcium on its own did not appear to reduce risk; however, when combined with the other two minerals, risk of stroke was reduced by about 20%.

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are intricately involved with hundreds of enzymatic processes in the body, but many Americans just aren't getting enough in their daily diet. The easiest way to assure you are getting enough minerals is to take a supplement in a highly bioavailable form.

Do You Know the Warning Signs for STROKE?

F - Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?

A - Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb?

S - Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?

T - Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.