Magnesium supplements may decrease diabetes risk

January 11, 2011

Daily supplements of magnesium may improve insulin sensitivity and help reduce the risk of diabetes in overweight people, a new German study suggests.

In the randomized controlled trial, 52 overweight, non- diabetic participants received magnesium supplements (magnesium-aspartate-hydrochloride) at a dose of 365 mg per day or placebo for six months (1). In order to study the effect of oral magnesium supplementation on diabetes risk, several indices of insulin sensitivity, plasma glucose, serum insulin, blood pressure and lipid profile were determined. The study results showed that two out of three measures of insulin sensitivity improved significantly following magnesium supplementation, while there was also a trend towards an improvement in blood pressure in the mineral supplemented group.

The scientists concluded that the study provides significant evidence that magnesium supplementation ameliorates insulin resistance and subsequently type-2 diabetes in obese people. To their mind, the efficacy of magnesium supplementation – even in subjects with normal serum magnesium concentrations – raises the question as to whether a prophylactic administration for people at risk of metabolic syndrome is required while highlighting the need for sufficient magnesium intake in food. According to the researchers, several mechanisms may be responsible for the beneficial effect of magnesium on insulin resistance, including direct effects of magnesium on the insulin receptor and its signaling processes.

In 2007, the results from a meta-analysis of observational studies including 286,668 participants had shown that, for every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type-2 diabetes decreased by 15 percent (2).


  1. Mooren F. C. et al. Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non- diabetic subjects – a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2011.
  2. Larsson S. C. and Wolk A. Magnesium intake and risk of type-2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. J Intern Med. 2007; 262(2):208–214.