The actress Carrie Fisher stopped breathing whilst travelling by air: after resuscitation and transfer to a hospital, where she died a few days later, never having regained consciousness. The death certificate states that the cause of death was “cardiac arrest/deferred”, meaning that they do not know what caused the cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest means that the heart stops beating, due to an electrical malfunction. This means that no blood is pumped to the lungs, brain and other organs; the patient becomes unconscious and pulseless and can die within minutes unless treatment is started immediately. A heart attack on the other hand, is a circulatory problem caused when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked.

It is known that low magnesium levels can trigger various heart rhythm problems, some of which are fatal. Observations over decades suggest that low total body magnesium could be the cause of many “sudden unexpected deaths”. The large body of observational literature that has evolved over many decades, beginning with magnesium concentrations in drinking water, suggests that low total body magnesium could be causative of sudden death.

Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in your body: keeping heart rhythm steady, maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supporting a healthy immune system and strong healthy bones.

The suggested daily intake of magnesium (USA) is 300-400mg, best obtained from foods such as almonds, spinach, brown rice, chocolate (yay!) oatmeal and some fruits. Certain medication such as some water pills and anti-acid drugs can cause excess loss. Magnesium supplements are safe provided your kidneys function normally to prevent magnesium build-up. Loose stools may indicate that you are consuming too much magnesium supplement, so the dose should be decreased.

This is a summary of an input from Dr. George Lundberg as featured on Medscape, Feb 13, 2017