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An adequate magnesium intake may reduce diabetes risk

November 6, 2013

A new study from China reports that meeting the recommended intakes of magnesium may significantly decrease the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in risk groups.

In the observational study, the magnesium intakes of 234 participants with the above-mentioned metabolic syndrome were assessed and insulin resistance was estimated based on measurements of metabolic bio- markers in blood samples taken over the course of 12 months (1). The study results showed that higher dietary magnesium intakes were significantly associated with lower blood concentrations of biomarkers indicating insulin resistance. For participants who met the recommended dietary intake (RDA) for magnesium (only 30% of participants), the risk of having elevated biomarker levels over time was decreased by 63%.

The researchers commented that meeting the RDA for magnesium is a simple message that can have im- portant clinical meaning, as it may offer a potential protective effect on insulin resistance. Surveys have shown that the majority of the US population does not meet the recommended magnesium intake (2). The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, controlling heart rhythm, supporting the immune system, and keeping bones strong. In addition, the mineral is thought to contribute to blood sugar and blood pressure regulation. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued positive opinions on the important role of magnesium in the maintenance of normal bone, teeth, and protein synthesis as well as the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, electrolyte balance, normal energy-yielding metabolism, neurotransmission and muscle contraction.

The metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by central obesity, hypertension, disturbed glucose and in- sulin metabolism, has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that some 75 million Americans suffer from the metabolic syndrome.

References

  1. Wang J. et al. Dietary magnesium intake improves insulin resistance among non-diabetic individuals with metabolic syndrome participating in a dietary trial. Nutrients. 2013; 5(10):3910–3919.
  2. Ford E. S. and Mokdad A. H. Dietary Magnesium Intake in a National Sample of U.S. Adults. J. Nutr. 2003; 133(9):2879–2882.