Slash your heart risk with this mineral

There's a little bit of good news in the new statin recommendations: They're so extreme that even many mainstream doctors are questioning them.

So while the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are trying to double the number of Americans on cholesterol meds, many doctors are now (finally) willing to try something else.

Something safe... and something natural.

Well, I happen to have just what the doctor ordered. It's not cholesterol meds, it's not new, edgy or trendy and it's not going to make anyone rich.

But it will save lives.

It's magnesium, the essential mineral that keeps your heart beating -- and new research confirms that it can save more lives than those cholesterol meds ever will, especially if you give it to the millions of people facing a high risk of heart problems.

And if you're a high-risk heart patient yourself, boosting your magnesium levels to 442 mg a day or higher can cut your risk of death from heart problems by 59 percent, according to the study of 7,216 older men and women.

If that's not enough of a reason to up your magnesium intake, the study also finds it could slash your risk of death from cancer by 37 percent and the risk of death from any cause by more than a third.

If a study on a drug ever found those benefits, you can bet there would be a push to put it in the water supply. But since it's magnesium, it barely gets any attention at all, especially when it's compared to cholesterol meds.

I'd say it's time to start paying attention to magnesium -- and paying attention to how much you're getting.

Odds are, it's not enough. By most estimates, up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient.

It's tough to get all the magnesium you need from diet alone these days, especially if you're eating anything close to the modern diet. Even a healthy diet can fall short.

And you can't count on your multivitamin here. Magnesium takes up so much room in the capsules that most multis contain just a small fraction of what you need.

That means you should take a separate magnesium supplement. Look for one that contains magnesium glycinate, the form that's most easily used by your body.