Mitral valve prolapse is
a common condition occurring in approximately 4 - 18% of the population.
It is defined as an abnormality of the mitral valves of the heart in
which one or both mitral valve flaps close incompletely, often producing
either a click or murmur. Conditions
linked to MVP include magnesium deficiencies, increased catecholamine
productions, anxiety, depression, migraines, allergies and asthma.
Interesting facts about the
Some people, especially underweight women,
have what is known as MVP syndrome. Besides mitral valve prolapse, the symptoms of this
syndrome often include hypermobility, flat feet, pectus excavatum, scoliosis,
low body weight, anxiety attacks and irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS).
MVP is linked to a variety
of genetic disorders including Ehlers-Danlos
syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, Stickler syndrome and Marfan syndrome.
Approximately 75% of the people with Marfan syndrome have MVP. Some
researchers think mitral
valve prolapse syndrome is a mild form of a connective
tissue disorder, similar to Marfan syndrome.
People with Down
syndrome also often
have mitral valve prolapse.
Even in people without the
entire MVP syndrome, isolated mitral valve prolapse is still linked
Up to 75% of the people with
have the disorder.
MVP can occur as a result
So how do these findings
all fit together? Quite logically, actually. The associations above
leave us with a lot of interesting clues to what causes MVP. If you
look at the studies on PubMed
surrounding mitral valve prolapse, with an eye for the big picture,
there may be some perfectly logical reasons for all of these factors,
as explained below. These clues all fit together like pieces from a
puzzle. You just have to think about them logically, do a little research
and put the pieces in order to see how they all interrelate.
Valve Prolapse: The Links to Magnesium Deficiency
Though they do not appear
to be widely known, there are a wide variety of medical research studies
from various parts of the world that link MVP to magnesium deficiencies,
and/or that show improvement of MVP symptoms from magnesium treatment.
These studies include:
A study in Denmark showed
that Cavalier King Charles spaniels frequently have both MVP and low
A study in Paris found a
link between magnesium deficiency, latent tetany, hyperventilation syndrome,
spasmophilia, chronic fatigue syndrome, neurocirculatory asthenia and
valve prolapse syndrome.
Russian researchers found
that patients with mitral valve prolapse appeared to suffer from magnesium
therapy completely or partially reduced the symptoms in more than half
In a study
published in 2004, researchers in Sweden found that the
magnesium concentration in lysates of lymphocytes was significantly
lower in the patients with mitral valve prolapse syndrome than in healthy
controls, suggesting that "magnesium deficiency may be part of
the mechanisms of the mitral valve prolapse syndrome."
A paper in the journal, Magnesium,
noted that magnesium deficiency hinders the mechanism by which fibroblasts
degrade defective collagen, increases circulating catecholamines, predisposes
to cardiac arrhythmias, thromboembolic phenomena and dysregulation of
the immune and autonomic nervous systems. The paper authors noted that
relief of MVP symptoms.
Another paper from the journal,
Magnesium, found that out of the 24 patients with MVP
who underwent 16 weeks of treatment with magnesium 29.2% became
asymptomatic between the 4th and 12th weeks, in 45.8% one or two symptoms
of a psychic nature persisted (e.g. anxiety, depressive tendency), and
the remaining 25% showed an improvement, albeit, a less marked one.
A 1985 study found that in
a group of patients with MVP, low magnesium levels were found to be
statistically significant. The
researchers assumed magnesium to have an important role particularly
in causing the rhythm and neuropsychic disturbances
in pathogenesis of mitral valve prolapse.
In a 1975 study in France,
researchers reviewed the role of the low
erythrocyte (cellular) magnesium in
Here is a good article on
MVP and magnesium: Magnesium
Deficiency in the Pathogenesis of Mitral Valve Prolapse - "Most
features of the MVP syndrome can be attributed to direct physiological
effects of magnesium deficiency or to secondary effects produced by
blockade of EFA desaturation. These include valvular collagen dissolution,
ventricular hyperkinesis, cardiac arrhythmias, occasional thromboembolic
phenomena. autonomic dysregulation and association with LT, pelvic fibrosis,
autoimmune disease, anxiety disorders, allergy and chronic candidiasis."
Many medical web sites state
that MVP is a normal variation in the population because it is so common.
I'm not so sure this
is a valid conclusion. Being
common does not mean the same thing as being normal, or even desirable.
Thirty percent of the adult U.S. population is obese, however no one
is saying that obesity is "normal". There are many conditions
such as breast cancer, heart attacks and osteoporosis that are even
more common than mitral valve prolapse, but that doesn't mean that any
of these conditions are normal, let alone desirable.
Many people in the U.S. and
other Western countries do not get the RDA of magnesium, so it actually
would be expected then that many people would have signs of magnesium
deficiencies. A research paper from France notes that a marginal
primary magnesium deficit affects a large proportion of the population
(15 to 20%). The study
noted that while 6 mg was the RDA for magnesium, most people only took
in slightly over 4 mg. In another study from France, 77 per cent of
women and 72 per cent of men had dietary
magnesium intakes lower than recommended dietary allowances;23
per cent of women and 18 per cent of men consumed less than 2/3 of the
Things aren't much better
in the U.S. According to a paper from State University of New York,
since the turn of this century, there has been a steady
and progressive decline of dietary magnesium intake to where much
of the Western World population is ingesting less than an optimum RDA.
As such, perhaps the high levels of mitral valve prolapse seen these
days in the developed, Western countries are indeed common, but not
"normal" at all. Perhaps they merely reflect signs of a growing
magnesium deficiency among people in developed countries who tend to
consume diets high in calcium (which can cause a magnesium imbalance)
, high in processed foods and low in magnesium rich foods, such as nuts
Some of the medical web sites
I've looked at say that most people with mitral valve prolapse have
no symptoms. This seems to be commonly believed, yet it is not supported
by actual studies. If you scan the studies actually done on MVP, there
are a wide variety of symptoms commonly associated with the disorder.
Mitral valve prolapse frequently
occurs in association with the following conditions in the table below.
Interestingly, most of these conditions have also been linked to low
magnesium levels, providing a clue that a magnesium deficiency may be
a common factor among the disorders. Studies linking these conditions
that occur along with MVP to magnesium deficiency are also listed below:
A root cause of a magnesium
deficiency could easily be one of the reasons the above symptoms (and
many others not listed) commonly occur together and occur along with
Many of the web sites and
articles I've looked at state that a magnesium deficiency is a symptom
of mitral valve prolapse. I don't think the evidence supports this statement.
As the rest of this web site will continue to explain, there is more
evidence and logic supporting the theory that mitral valve prolapse
is likely to be a symptom of a magnesium deficiency.
Valve Prolapse and Hyaluronic Acid
One interesting fact about
MVP is that the heart valves in humans with the condition show
abnormalities of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a component
of connective tissue that occurs in high amounts in places like the
and joints. What's really interesting is that hyaluronic acid is dependent
on a variety of nutrients for its synthesis, and one of these nutrients
is magnesium. A reduction
in the availability of magnesium has a negative impact on hyaluronic
So a lack of magnesium impacting
hyaluronic acid synthesis,
would provide a logical explanation of why:
- Heart valves in MVP show
hyaluronic acid abnormalities. The heart valves probably become defective
when the body does not have sufficient magnesium to produce hyaluronic
acid. With degraded hyaluronic acid, the valve stretches out and functions
- Magnesium supplementation
often aids in the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse. It's probably
because more magnesium makes it easier for the body to make hyaluronic
acid which makes for better functioning heart valves.
- People with Down syndrome
commonly have mitral valve prolapse. They also tend to have hyaluronic
acid abnormalities, as well as deficiencies
of magnesium. People with Down syndrome are also usually
low in zinc, another nutrient that impacts hyaluronic acid.
- People with MVP are usually
hypermobile. It may be, at least in part, because they have abnormalities
of hyaluronic acid, which can cause their connective tissue to weaken
and stretch out.
- People with Marfan
syndrome have both mitral
valve prolapse and
- People with fibromyalgia
also tend to have mitral valve prolapse. Up to 75% of the people with
fibromyalgia have the condition. Interestingly, like people with Down
syndrome, they also have hyaluronic
acid abnormalities and tend to be low in magnesium.
Hyaluronic acid has been
nicknamed by the press as the "key to the fountain of youth"
because it has been noted that at least some people who ingest a lot
of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages. ABC News had a show
on hyaluronic acid entitled, "The Village of Long Life: Could Hyaluronic
Acid Be an Anti-Aging Remedy?". While it may make for a good TV
show, I doubt that the answer to long life is as simple as just hyaluronic
It is interesting to note,
however, that hyaluronic acid abnormalities are a key feature of many
of the premature
aging syndromes, indicating
that they may well be a factor in the disorders. People with Down syndrome,
who, as noted above, usually have have hyaluronic acid abnormalities,
also tend to be afflicted with both
premature aging syndromes and mitral valve prolapse. It would be
highly logical to consider the possibility that defective hyaluronic
acid is the common cause as to why people with Down syndrome develop
both conditions and that their low levels of magnesium and zinc are
causative factors in their hyaluronic acid abnormalities.
Hyaluronic Acid and Hyaluronidase
People often develop mitral
valve prolapse and other heart ailments after contracting rheumatic
fever. It may be in part because the bacteria that cause rheumatic fever
emit an enzyme called hyaluronidase. Hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronic
acid. By dissolving the associations between the hyaluronic acid cells
in connective tissue, bacteria can move through tissues that would otherwise
pose a barrier to the spread of the organism. So if bacteria enter the
body by breaking down hyaluronic acid in heart valves, then that would
provide a logical explanation of why the valves then become defective.
The herb echinacea is said
to be helpful in combating cold and viruses, in part because it inhibits
the activity of the enzyme hyaluronidase. This anti-hyaluronidase action
is involved in regeneration of connective tissue destroyed during
infection and in the elimination of pathogenic organisms creating the
A lack of hyaluronic acid
would provide a logical explanation why people with connective tissue
disorders not only have many symptoms linked to defective connective
tissue, such as lax joints and stretched out heart valves, but also
why they tend to have a high rate of bacterial and viral infections.
It would also explain why symptoms of MVP often appear or increase after
illness. If a person's hyaluronic acid is less than robust, perhaps
this make it easier for bacteria to break through the protective hyaluronic
Valve Prolapse: Is Magnesium a Cure?
Many people with mitral valve
prolapse respond to magnesium treatment, but some do not. However, this
doesn't mean magnesium isn't a factor in MVP, it just means there may
be more than one factor involved in the disorder. Hyaluronic acid depends
upon other nutrients, too, like zinc, and there are other factors that
degrade hyaluronic acid besides hyaluronidase, such as cigarette smoke.
Since there are multiple causes of hyaluronic acid abnormalities, in
turn it would be logical to expect there to be multiple causes of mitral
valve prolapse. (See my sections on zinc and
hyaluronic acid for more on this
See my section on Finding
a Nutrition Oriented Physician for more information on nutrition
oriented doctors and labs that do cellular (the most sensitive
type) of magnesium deficiency testing.
If we put all of the clues
together about mitral valve prolapse, then there are some highly logical
ways in which the data fit together. In the chart in my next section,
Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome:
Symptoms and Diet Treatments, I've
assembled information gathered from a variety of different studies on
PubMed and put them all together into a logical scenario. It is probably
a highly simplified version compared to reality, however, it does provide
logical explanations for many of the features we know about MVP.
If the root cause of mitral
valve prolapse was in fact degraded hyaluronic acid and/or an excess
of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid, then everything
we know about the disorder would make sense. It would explain why mitral
valve prolapse is commonly, but not always, linked to magnesium deficiencies,
why MVP occurs as a result of rheumatic fever and why people with disorders
like Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome and/or fibromyalgia often have both
mitral valve prolapse and hyaluronic acid abnormalities, too. I don't
think there is anything we know about mitral valve prolapse and its
associations that doesn't fit in with this model, thus providing a pretty
good clue that is on the right track, and that hyaluronic acid is indeed
most likely a significant factor in mitral valve prolapse.