Stroke - Magnesium - Questions

I have had an eventful week since having an ischemic Stroke. I had a sign of it (numbness in my right arm) a couple weeks prior. I went to the emergency room then, but it passed and althought they did a CT on my brain, they could not find anything (my wife would say that was no surprise). I mean nothing abnormal. Then most recently I was watching TV and felt a little dizzy and suddenly was unable to see the entire picture on the screen. I immediately felt a bit detached from the story, so I went in the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror I was unable to see the right-side of my face regardless which eye I covered. I started feeling better after a while and assumed it was just an ocular migraine that had passed. I now realize how ignorant I was. So I went to bed. I woke in the morning and found that I still had vision problems on the right side when reading. So I immediately went to the ER. They did another CT only this time they used contrast dye. They found that my left carotid was 60% blocked, but in a very unusal way. My right carotid was 0% blocked and all my other arteries and major veins were also completely clear. A neurologist at the hospital told me that this was pretty amazing. I asked him why and he simply said, we don't know. We will never know. The left carotid was 60% blocked, but all on one wall only as opposed to the usual accumulation of plaque equally on both sides. Additionally, the surface morphology was such that there were clear jagged edges (ulceration) that made it especially dangerous due to the possibilty plaque could easily and readily break-off suddenly. So they squezzed me in within 36 hours for a carotid endarterectomy. The surgeon said the plaque she removed was the weirdest she'd ever seen. I don't know if she meant that literally, but she said that the consistency of my plaque was crumbly against the artery wall and the consistency of toothpate at the surface. I told her that I ate a lot of cold smoked salmon (2-4 times per week) and wondered if that part of my diet could be the cause for the weird consistency. She said no, it was likely genetics. 

Well something else I noticed from my blood work was that my calcium and magnesium were extremely low. I never really paid much attention to those levels before, but looking back I see that they have been low for years. I take no supplements and/or medication and my diet has been very healthy. So I didn't think that I needed to take supplements. I have since re-thought that and have tried to get a little better educated. Since I am aware of the heart healthy benefits of magnesium, I decided to start taking both Calcium carbonate with Vitamin D (low dose) and Magnesium Glycinate. I also have had a lot of muscle aches in the past which I now believe may be attributable to my low magnesium levels. BTW: my Total Cholesterol is 200 and my HDL is 90.

I do not claim to have any answers to any of this, so I would appreciate any input/suggestions on what I can do to protect myself in the future or even improve my self-care. Any suggestions with regard to an optimal dose of calcium and magnesium would be appreciated. 

I also should mention that I found it interesting that they cranked my PM up to a steady 80 bpm during the surgery in an effort to regulate my BP. I only learned that after a sleepless night when they told me the pacer tech was on the way to reset my PM to 50 bpm. It is always 50 when I sleep. The ability to utilize my PM for stability during the surgery is pretty cool. I consider myself very fortunate to have made it through all of this with only a minor vision problem in my right eye. The fact that I went to bed instead of the ER when this first happen while watching TV could have been much more consequential. I was lucky that I woke-up. I know now that I owe my life to a couple of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

I am sorry for the length of this post. I did try to keep it short.




sorry to hear

by new to pace.... - 2022-11-19 14:27:18

am glad you had the forsight to get to the ER.  That you were finally to  get the problem fiixed.

  If you are able to might try Accupuncture for your vision.  Have a friend who had an eye stroke.  It has been helping her vision get better.

new to pace

Sorry to hear this

by Westy - 2022-11-19 15:22:14

Sorry to hear that has happened to you . Glad was nothing serious and your ok xx

You deserve to be well and thank you for sharing

by Gemita - 2022-11-19 16:45:20

Dave, I am so very sorry to hear about your stroke and the need for you to have a Carotid endarterectomy.  You certainly cannot blame yourself for any of this because your lifestyle is so healthy.  Strokes happen so suddenly and it is vitally important to get a diagnosis quickly to have the best chance of a good recovery.  From your description of the consistency of your plaque found in the Carotid artery, this could have easily broken away in larger bits and travelled to the brain causing immense damage.  It doesn't bear thinking about.

My husband has had several strokes, the last one occurred after a stent procedure.  It was not detected by CT Scan but by MRI which is far more sensitive apparently (and accurate), although his BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) levels were exceedingly high, so his doctors knew something had occurred, hence they quickly ordered the MRI to confirm the stroke and the part of the brain affected.  He also suffered some vision changes although his balance and co-ordination were mostly affected.

Are you on any anticoagulants Dave, I cannot remember.  Have they changed your medication at all?  Also, what is the follow up plan?   I would discuss supplements with your doctors Dave before taking them, especially after a stroke.

On the subject of Calcium and Vitamin D, I would not get my calcium from a carbonate source in any event and too much calcium from supplements may cause an increased risk of heart disease by accelerating arterial calcification.  I would try to get adequate amounts of calcium by eating calcium rich foods regularly throughout the day (we can do another post on this if you like and also on magnesium, although I recall we had a post running on magnesium not so long ago).  I will try to find my notes and write again later or tomorrow Dave on the calcium supplements I have tried (as an osteoporosis sufferer).  I accept that you were low on calcium and magnesium and may need a supplement but it is important to find the right one.  

Dave, I send my best wishes for a good recovery.  It has no doubt been a difficult experience for you and for your family but you have clearly done very well from the procedure so far and I hope this continues.  Thank you for sharing your experience and making us all aware of the importance of getting help as early as possible.   

Thank you!

by Good Dog - 2022-11-19 17:30:29

Thank you to all that have responded to my post. I am grateful!

Gemita - I have not taken any medication prior to this event. They have prescribed 80 mg Atorvastatin once at bedtime. That is all. I think it is a statin. I will be seeing the Doc again next week. As you may recall, I have a 36 year old atrial lead which precluded the possibility of an MRI. My Cardiologist reviewed the CT Scan with me and showed me how clean all of my veins and arteries are. Yet that left carotid had that one partial blockage. It was very uncanny. On the left-side above my pacemaker. Of course I am trying to figure-out why, but I guess nobody will ever know.

You are correct about the possibilty of the palque breaking away at any time. I was aware of that possibility and needless to say, it was very unsettling. They put me in an observation unit while they huddled-up to decide what to do next. They would not allow me to leave the hospital and frankly, I believe that they saved my life. The surgeon that did it worked an extra long day to fit me in her schedule. She is a real sweetheart!

I am with you on the supplements. I will hold-off for now. From what I have been reading it seems as though the magnesium may be helpful from the standpoint that it will help with my muscle aches as well as increase my blood levels to get them more in the normal range. I am not and would not mega dose. I do know better than to do that. The magnesium is onlly 120 mg which is 29% of the daily recommended. The calcium is 600 mg as calcium carbonate and 5 mcg of vitiman D.

BTWL My cholesterol has been at 200 for a very long time. My Cardiologist advised that he had no concern, because my good cholesterol was also very high (usually between 85 - 95).

I have to tell you that the mental part of this has been far more difficult tham the physical. 

Thank you for your thoughts and wishes!



muscle problems

by new to pace.... - 2022-11-19 18:13:19

i have heard that Satins can cause muscle problems. Shaky legs.  You might check that out.

new to pace


by Lavender - 2022-11-19 19:00:44

Thank God you're here to post. You're much needed and appreciated around here. 
I agree w Gemita in eating more calcium rich foods. Almonds are a great source of magnesium that I utilize daily with ground almonds on my oatmeal and yogurts. Love cashews too. 

You are not done yet-God has a plan! May He continue to watch over you and keep you protected from all harm. I'm sorry you had to go through all of this!

The cold smoked salmon sounds delicious!

Your good cholesterol level at 90 is excellent

by Gemita - 2022-11-19 21:31:38

The 80 mg Atorvastatin is a high starting dose but I am sure your doctors feel that the benefits far outweigh any potential risk. When you go back Dave you could always ask whether this dose might be reduced in the future particularly if you experience any side effects or your LDL Cholesterol level comes down?  Your HDL Cholesterol level is good though at 90.  But it is important that you trust your doctors and I can see that you do, since they will know how best to treat you to keep you safe following the stroke.  Yes Atorvastatin it is a statin but there are many different ones to try if that one doesn’t suit.  Statins can effectively reduce LDL cholesterol levels and may even shrink plaques in arteries when LDL falls below 70 mg/dL.

It is strange that one artery had plaque and yet you were generally plaque free elsewhere.  I think you mentioned ulceration was seen too.  Perhaps that particular Carotid artery had been traumatised or suffered arterial insufficiency at some stage resulting in inadequate levels of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the tissues which started the whole ulceration/plaque process off.  I note it was only 60% blocked.   Perhaps your doctors will look for other causes too because you certainly don’t have any coronary heart disease. 

I can understand the impact this stroke has had on you psychologically and it will take time to come to terms with what has happened but you are still young, active and healthy, so nothing has changed there.  After my husband's last stroke in 2018 there were some subtle changes in his mood, behaviour and sleep patterns but there is support out there for stroke patients and carers if we ever need it, so don't be afraid to ask.  We have found a caring neuro-psychologist to help us manage any troublesome symptoms but you sound relatively symptom free.  The human body is truly amazing at protecting us and so are our "trusted" doctors.  

Sorry to hear

by Aberdeen - 2022-11-20 05:07:07

Dave, Sorry to hear about your stroke. I am delighted to hear that you have recovered!


To All

by Good Dog - 2022-11-20 10:33:46

Thank you all for your sentiments and support. I agree completely with most everything you all wrote including Angry Sparrow's comment; "buy a lottery ticket". To say I was scared is an understatement. I feel very fortunate that I still have all my faculties. However, the new realization of how that could change in an instant is not comforting. I have never even considered the possibilty that I could be a stroke candidate, but always believed that it would be one of the worst things that could happen in terms of my health. I watched my grandfather who was a man I adored and respected sustain a massive stroke at my age. He ended-up half paralyzed and lived another 20 years barely able to speak or ever walk again. It was so very sad to watch that!

I have in the past also always been opposed to buying and using supplements primarily, because there are no controls and you really do not know what you are getting in them. The two I had bought recently were both low dose and both from what appeared to be the most reputable manufacturers at premium prices, but I agree that doesn't guarantee anything. I will stock-up on Pumpkin seeds and almonds that contain the highest concentration of magnesium. Maybe eat more yogurt for the calcium. However, I live in one of the cloudiest places in the winter in the U.S. and so also likely need some added vitimin D. Not sure what to do about that. In northern Ohio along Lake Erie we are lucky to see sunshine a couple days a month here.

Amyway, thankis to all for your input. It is very much appreciated!



additional foods and Vit D

by new to pace.... - 2022-11-20 13:07:20

I was told to avoid fermented foods which include yogurt as it is one of the triggers for AFib.  

As for the Vit D even though i live in Florida which is the sunshine state.  Do avoid some of the sunny part of the day.  Take the Jarrow brand  D3  one soft gels daily during the summer and 2 during the winter months not as sunny.  You should  have your blood tested to see your level of Vit D to see  how much you need to take.

I also take  Gentle Iron by Solgar and  a Red Yeast Rice with 40 mg CoQ10  by Designs for Health to keep the bad Cholestral lower and it has worked for me without any of those satin side effects.

Turmeric supplement as a blood thinner.

new to pace


Calcium Orotate, Magnesium Orotate and Vitamin D3 would be my preferred supplements

by Gemita - 2022-11-20 13:14:29

Dave you are doing a lot to protect yourself already, so I don’t know how you can improve on your self care.  In the future do continue to live your life as healthily as you can, getting daily exercise, fresh air, sunlight (best form of Vitamin D), good quality sleep, and a wholesome diet eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, pulses, calcium rich foods (which also will contain magnesium), lean meats like chicken, turkey, beef, oily fish and getting protein from eggs, nuts and seed sources too.  If you want fat in your diet, eat healthy fat from olive oil, avocados, nuts, for instance.  I rarely eat pastries, cakes, biscuits or highly processed foods anymore, high in unhealthy sugar and fat.  Quality food may cost more but it fills me up and keeps me going longer, so it is an excellent diet for blood glucose control too.

My GP explained that my body cannot process more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. If you take a supplement with more than that, your body has to do something with the excess. It’s possible that higher calcium levels in the blood could trigger blood clots or that calcium could be deposited along artery walls, which would contribute to the narrowing of blood vessels, but of course this doesn’t happen to everyone taking a calcium supplement.

While taking calcium supplements may produce unwanted side effects, meeting your calcium needs through your diet is safe. When you get calcium through your diet, you’re taking it in small amounts spread throughout the day along with other food sources, which helps you absorb the nutrient better.  

Most people can get adequate calcium through their diet if they make an effort.  I take spoonfuls of organic plain yoghurt throughout the day.  Excellent for calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, B12, potassium.  Just one cup of yoghurt provides 49% of our daily calcium needs, so why would I take a calcium supplement as well?  Yoghurt is high in protein too and if you can buy a good quality yoghurt, it may also contain live bacteria, or probiotics that aid digestion.  Stir in some blackstrap molasses and you can boost your magnesium levels (one tablespoon contains around 100 mg magnesium).  Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses offers vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6.  We have such an abundance of food available today and it should be possible to find a diet that will suit you and your pocket and give you all the necessary vitamins, minerals you require.

I cannot take Calcium Carbonate because even small doses constipate me and cause severe bloating and many of my elderly neighbours who have been given calcium carbonate for their osteoporosis also complain of similar issues.  I have looked up my first calcium/magnesium supplement and I can see that I was given the Orotate forms for both Calcium and Magnesium.  The Orotate form is highly absorbed and that is the Calcium and Magnesium supplement that I wouldn’t hesitate to take again today if I felt it was necessary.  

Please see Links 1-3 below on Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D daily requirements from the National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements:-

Link 4 describes the benefits of Calcium Orotate and compares Orotate with other forms of Calcium.

Calcium/Magnesium Orotate are highly absorbed supplements. Extensive research by the late German doctor Hans A. Nieper, M.D. found and I quote from the 4th link above, “that Orotate molecules are the most efficient carriers of calcium, magnesium, lithium and other ions in the body.  Orotates can cross the cell membrane, delivering the mineral ion to the innermost layers of the cell, reaching the mitochondria and nucleus. Other calcium supplements, such as calcium carbonate, citrate, gluconate, lactate, malate, and phosphate, cannot penetrate into the membranes as Orotates can, or are broken up in the digestive tract.”

Link 5 similarly describes the many medical benefits of Magnesium Orotate, see particularly 6.2 Types of Magnesium Compounds and their effectiveness.  6.3 Magnesium Orotate.

Link 6 Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of Cardiovascular Disease.  See particularly the section at the end on Stroke which confirms Hypomagnesaemia has been found to be a risk factor for cerebrovascular events and complications.


by arentas80 - 2022-11-20 14:47:10

What a story! So happy to learn of the positive outcome. It always blows my mind how our bodies can warn us before the inevitable. Very happy to see you're safe and sound. All the best sir! 

Vitamin D

by Lavender - 2022-11-20 17:59:42

I live in a mostly overcast town as well. My pcp checked my blood for Vitamin D. I now take a D3 50mcg (2000 IU) capsule with breakfast. Get the bloodwork to see if you need it. 

Thanks again.

by Good Dog - 2022-11-20 18:49:34

I truly appreciate all the positive sentiments and info. Lavender- I just love how you are always so positive. Great advice also! I will get it checked (vitamin D)!

The consistency of the plaque and the way it accumulated really concerns me. Since plaque is made-up of a lot of calcium & magnesium, I am hoping that by increasing my calcium levels more into the normal range (I am currently at the absolute bottom of the range based on my labs over the last few years) I can develop more normal plaque. I am not likely to ever accomplish that, but I am going to try anyway! Trying just makes me feel better. I do know that I can't live forever!

Thanks again,


Red Yeast Rice capsules can also be bad

by Lavender - 2022-11-20 19:52:04

I know some people take red yeast rice capsules to avoid using statins. My former pcp told me to take it as a preventative even though my cholesterol isn't high. On his advice, I took it for a week, I think, and it made my stomach and bowels act up. It took months to get over the resultant bloating, burning and pain. Just a heads up that this supplement was mentioned in your thread but it's not good for all. FDA doesn't regulate it. It's iffy as to the content of some supplements. 

Vitamin D works with the calcium. Start drinking milk-lactose free- if needed and eat yogurt too. I make a yogurt sundae every day of the week. I only like vanilla yogurt. I add ground almonds, and fruit -like raspberries or such and top with a nice squirt of whipped cream!  Cherry on top if you like. 🍧 You're a smart guy and can investigate what calcium foods you like.

Dave-man you know what you gotta do to fight back. Your carotid is cleaned out and you have a fresh start. The soft plaque is troublesome but it's a blessing you found out that this was sneaking up on you!!

My brother had a stroke one morning while showering (he had sudden weakness on one side and slumped). He got out and called the ambulance. They arrived and he said, "never mind, I feel fine now just tired. " They left and he went back to bed.  He was lying there and decided maybe he better go get checked. Sure enough! He had a stroke. He was fine except for losing vision in the right side of both eyes. Everything else worked fine. 

I get scintillating scotoma and it's really weird. 

Our bodies are wonderful, awful, magical, mysterious gifts. I know you're on it and will put the puzzle pieces together after this unpleasant surprise. 🥴

red yeast rice supplement

by new to pace.... - 2022-11-20 21:35:59

i agree with you Lavender that not all supplements are good for you.  For me this does work.  I have taken some supplements for Osteroporis   which did not work for  me.  The doctor was surprised as she had given these to others and no one complained before.  I do not buy the ones over the counter.  But get them through my acupuncturist.

new to pace

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