Magnesium deficiency may exacerbate diabetes symptoms

February 8, 2011

A new Brazilian study suggests that inadequate magnesium intake may, over the long-term, increase the risk of chronic complications in patients with type 2 diabetes.

In the study, 51 patients with type 2 diabetes were assessed for their magnesium intake and status in order to identify the parameters that best predict alterations in fasting glucose and plasma magnesium (1). The results showed that magnesium intake was inadequate in 82 percent of the subjects. Magnesium status was influenced by kidney depuration and was decreased in patients with type 2 diabetes. In addition the mineral was shown to play an important role in blood glucose control. The researchers concluded that impaired kidney function may lead to high levels of magnesium in the urine, which, along with low magnesium intake, can induce a rise of glucose in the blood.

Magnesium is an essential in the regulation of many cellular processes and functions as a cofactor in a wide range of metabolic reactions. According to the researchers the function of insulin is dependent on magnesium, as it is responsible for the activation of insulin receptors and for stimulation of proteins and substrates involved in insulin signaling. Previous research has suggested the magnesium intake of patients with diabetes often to be below recommended levels which may influence the progression of the disease by generating further complications. Although some epidemiological studies have suggested that adequate magnesium intake reduces the risk of development of type 2 diabetes, there are still contradictions with respect to the role of low magnesium intake as a predictor factor for this disease.


  1. Sales C. H. et al. Influence of magnesium status and magnesium intake on the blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Clinical Nutrition. 2011.