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Magnesium plays a crucial role in diabetes prevention and management

More than 55 million people in Europe have diabetes; by 2030 this number is expected to rise drastically.[1]

Diabetes can lead to serious and costly complications.

In 2009 alone, around 84.7 billion EUR were spent in treating diabetes in the EU region.

Unlike many life threatening diseases, diabetes is preventable if you make timely changes to your lifestyle and eating habits.   

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that arises when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to raised glucose levels in the blood and can cause long-term damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues. Diabetes can be of three types:

  • Type 1 diabetes: This occurs when the body's defence system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The body can no longer produce the insulin it needs. This condition is more common in children or young adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes: This is the more prevalent type of diabetes where the body produces insulin, but it is either not sufficient or the body does not respond to its effects, leading to a build-up of glucose in the blood. Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. In recent years, type 2 diabetes has increased along with the rising rates of obesity. Type 2 diabetes is preventable.
  • Gestational Diabetes: This is a condition first diagnosed during pregnancy. It can lead to complications in pregnancy and a life-time increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium’s Role in Prevention of Diabetes

Hypomagnesemia (medical term for Magnesium deficiency) is considered a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. [2] Magnesium is critical for the proper functioning of several enzymes that help the body process glucose and this makes it a factor that influences diabetes risk. In 1993, Dr. Jerry Nadler (international expert and division chief of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, US) and his colleagues put 16 healthy people on magnesium-deficient diets for three weeks. The cells not only became deficient in magnesium, but the insulin of every single individual became less capable of transporting sugar from the blood into the cells. [3]

In the United States, Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study (HFS) track over 170,000 health professionals through questionnaires that need to be completed every 2 years. Diet was first evaluated in 1980 in the NHS and in 1986 in the HFS, and dietary assessments have been completed every 2 to 4 years since. Information on the use of dietary supplements, including multivitamins, is also collected. As part of these studies, over 127,000 participants (85,060 women and 42,872 men) with no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline were followed to examine risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Women were followed for 18 years; men were followed for 12 years. Over time, the risk for developing type 2 diabetes was greater in men and women with a lower magnesium intake. [4]

More recently, researchers led by Dr Ka He of the University of North Carolina looked at magnesium intake and diabetes risk in 4,497 men and women 18 to 30 years old, none of whom were diabetic at the study's outset. The study found that as magnesium intake rose, levels of several markers of inflammation decreased, as did resistance to the effects of the key blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin. [5]

They found that the more magnesium a person consumed, the less likely he or she was to get metabolic syndrome, considered a precursor to diabetes. Those who had the most magnesium in their diet were about 31% less likely to have metabolic syndrome than the participants who had the least amount of magnesium in their diet. They proved, once again, that higher blood levels of magnesium were linked to a lower degree of insulin resistance. [6]

Magnesium’s Role in Management of Diabetes

If you have diabetes, it is probable that your cells are deficient in magnesium. Research has shown that not only can low magnesium levels cause diabetes, but, diabetes itself causes magnesium levels in the body to decrease. Insulin play a role in helping the kidneys reabsorb magnesium before it gets washed out with urine. If your body is not responding to insulin, you may not be retaining the magnesium you need. [7]

This magnesium depletion then contributes to metabolic complications of diabetes including vascular disease and osteoporosis. [8]

It is wise for people with diabetes, with certain exceptions such as those with kidney disease, to take magnesium supplementation daily. Here are the few measurable ways in which magnesium supplementation can benefit you if you are diabetic:

  1. Double-blind research indicates that supplementing with magnesium leads to improved insulin production in elderly diabetics. [9] Elders without diabetes can also produce more insulin because of magnesium supplements. [10]
  2. Magnesium is not likely to change blood sugar very much, but it improves insulin sensitivity, which reduces chances of heart attack or stroke in people with diabetes.
  3. Magnesium can reduce blood clotting. People with diabetes are prone to excessive blood clotting, a risk factor for dangerous plaque build-up and artery blockages. Dr Nadler found that people with Type II diabetes, in addition to being magnesium-deficient, also have double the amount of the blood-clotting factor (thromboxane) compared to people without diabetes. Magnesium supplementation can help reduce vascular disease in diabetes patients by reducing their thromboxane levels. [3]
  4. Magnesium also helps diabetics manage high blood pressure. Magnesium's potential to help control blood pressure is especially important for people with diabetes. Dr Lawrence Resnick, M.D., professor of medicine and director of hypertension at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and his colleagues measured magnesium levels in people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes and in people without diabetes. He found that those people with diabetes who had significantly lower magnesium levels also had higher blood pressure than people without the disease. He also found that all his subjects with high blood pressure, whether diabetic or non-diabetic, had lower magnesium levels than people with normal blood pressure. [11]
  5. Magnesium supplementation also lowers diabetes-induced damage to the eyes. Research has found that such damage is more likely to occur in magnesium-deficient patients. [12]
  6. Magnesium-deficient pregnant women who are insulin-dependent are also more likely to experience high rates of spontaneous abortion and birth defects. [13]
  7. Insulin requirements are lower in patients who are insulin dependent, who are supplemented with magnesium. In a study in type-1 diabetic patients’ oral replacement with magnesium hydroxide at a dosage of 250 mg twice daily resulted in increased levels of magnesium in the skeletal muscle[14]. This was associated with decreased insulin requirements in diabetic patients.

How to Get Extra Magnesium

Increasing dietary intake by eating a variety of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables every day will help provide recommended intakes of magnesium and maintain normal storage levels of this mineral. Click here for more info. However, increasing dietary intake of magnesium may not be enough to restore very low magnesium levels to normal.

In such a case, diabetics can take oral magnesium supplements like Mag365 or Magnesium Rub. The amount of elemental magnesium in a compound and its bioavailability (amount of magnesium in supplements that is absorbed in the intestines and ultimately available for biological activity in your cells and tissues) influence the effectiveness of the magnesium supplement. Bioavailability contributes to a magnesium supplement’s ability to replete deficient levels of magnesium. Mag365 offers magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate which has a high bio availability of magnesium making it easier for your body to replenish its depleted magnesium levels. Magnesium Rub and Magnesium Gel offers magnesium in the form of magnesium chloride which has a high bio availability by absorbing magnesium transdermal (through the skin).


  1. DIABETES: Europe’s silent threat
  2. Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women, Ruy Lopez-Ridaura, MD1, Walter C. Willett, MD123, Eric B. Rimm, SCD123, Simin Liu, MD34, Meir J. Stampfer, MD123, JoAnn E. Manson, MD234 and Frank B. Hu, MD123
  3. Nadler JL, Buchanan T, Natarajan R, Antonipillai I, Bergman R, Rude R: Magnesium deficiency produces insulin resistance and increased thromboxane synthesis. Hypertension 21:1024–1029, 1993
  4. Lopez-Ridaura R, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Liu S, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Hu FB. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Diabetes Care 2004;27:134-40.
  5. Magnesium Intake in Relation to Systemic Inflammation, Insulin Resistance, and the Incidence of Diabetes, Dae Jung Kim, MD1,2,3, Pengcheng Xun, MD, PhD1,2, Kiang Liu, PhD 4, Catherine Loria, PhD5, Kuninobu Yokota, MD, PhD6, David R. Jacobs Jr, PhD7,8 and Ka He, MD, ScD (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)1,2.
  6. Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults, by K. He and colleagues. Circ 113:1675-1682, 2006.
  7. Phuong-Chi et al, Hypomagnesemia in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes,
  8. Magnesium transport induced ex vivo by a pharmacological dose of insulin is impaired in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Hua, H : Gonzales, J : Rude, R K Magnes-Res. 1995 Dec; 8(4): 359-66
  9. Paolisso, G., Scheen, A. and Cozzolino, D., J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., 1994, 78, 1510–1514.
  10. Paolisso, G., Sgambato, S. and Gambardella, A., Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 1992, 55, 1161–1167.
  11. The Benefits of Magnesium - The Diabetes Connection:
  12. McNair, P., Christiansen, C., Madsbad, S., Lauritzen, F., Faber, O., Binder, C. and Transbol, I., Diabetes, 1978, 27, 1075–1077.
  13. Mimouni, F., Miodovnik, M. and Tsang, R. C., Obstet. Gynecol., 1987, 70, 85–89.
  14. Sjorgren, A., Floren, C. H. and Nilsson, A., Magnesium, 1988, 121, 16–20

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