Slash your heart risk with this inexpensive mineral

If a new drug was shown to slash the risk of heart disease by nearly a third, you can bet it would be hailed by the media as a "miracle" -- and the breathless coverage would turn the medication into Big Pharma's next billion-dollar blockbuster.

But there IS something that's proven to slash that risk, and it's not a drug. It's taking magnesium.

It's safe, widely available, inexpensive, and backed by hundreds of studies -- including a new analysis from Harvard University -- and yet it gets almost no coverage.

So let me turn the tables here and give magnesium the attention it really deserves, because the new analysis of 16 studies finds that every 0.2 mmol/L increase in taking magnesium will slash your risk of heart disease by 30 percent.

And if that's not enough of a benefit, increased magnesium will also cut your risk of ischemic heart disease by 22 percent, according to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Having or taking magnesium, of course, is essential to heart function. It literally helps keep your heart beating, and other studies have shown that high levels can not only prevent heart disease, but also lower your risk of death from the disease.

It's also been shown to help prevent cancer, control insulin, boost the immune system, strengthen bone, prevent migraines, and more -- so much more, since taking magnesium plays a key role in some 350 functions in the body that we know of so far.

The researchers behind the new heart study of course say the best way to get magnesium is from food rather than supplements, and no one would argue with that.

But to end the advice there ignores the reality of the situation: The modern diet is painfully low in magnesium -- so low that up to 80 percent of Americans don't even get minimal recommended levels, much less the higher optimal levels we see in research.

So while you should certainly increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens like spinach, be sure to add a supplement as well. And when choosing a supplement, be sure to turn the bottle over to see which form it contains, as there are several.

The one you want is called magnesium glycinate, which is more easily used by your body.