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Magnesium and Diabetes

Written by Amir Tajer


Posted on April 12 2017

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals found in our bodies. If we don't have enough of it, our bodies are unable to function.

Insufficient magnesium levels set the stage for the deterioration of our bodily functions, snowballing into significant health problems.

What is the Role of Magnesium?

Magnesium is found in many foods such as dark chocolate and oily fish such as salmon. Magnesium is also available as a dietary supplement. Magnesium plays part in a number of our bodily functions, including:

  • Protein Synthesis
  • Muscle and Nerve Function
  • Blood Glucose Control
  • Blood Pressure Regulation

How Much Magnesium Should We Consume?

Table 1 below shows the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)*

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances for Magnesium (1)






Birth to 6 months

30 mg*

30 mg*

7–12 months

75 mg*

75 mg*

1–3 years

80 mg

80 mg

4–8 years

130 mg

130 mg

9–13 years

240 mg

240 mg

14–18 years

410 mg

360 mg

400 mg

360 mg

19–30 years

400 mg

310 mg

350 mg

310 mg

31–50 years

420 mg

320 mg

360 mg

320 mg

51+ years

420 mg

320 mg

*Average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of most healthy individuals.

What is the Role of Magnesium in Diabetes?

Checking blood sugar levels for diabetes

Magnesium is also involved in the metabolism of both insulin and glucose. Our magnesium levels can, therefore, affect our ability to metabolize these hormones. (2)

The most common metabolic syndrome related to these hormones is diabetes.  Magnesium deficiency, either as a result of increased urinary magnesium excretion or lack of magnesium consumption, has been found commonly in people with diabetes.

A meta-analysis of 7 cohort studies, which included more than 280,000 patients and more than 10,000 cases of diabetes, which went up to 17 years of follow-up, found that increasing magnesium by 100 mg/day decreased the risk of diabetes by a statistically significant 15%. (3)

Diabetes, more specifically Type 2 diabetes, can cause detrimental complications:

  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis: a condition where the body produces excessive amounts of blood acids called ketones.
  •  Nonketotic Hyperosmolar Coma: a state of excessive dehydration, caused by high blood sugars (4).
  • Cardiovascular Disease: a group of diseases that affect heart function, such as heart failure, congenital heart disease and coronary heart disease.
  • Kidney Failure: a condition characterized by a decrease in kidney function.

Magnesium is a Must!

Magnesium chloride from dead sea pharmaceutical grade

Adequate magnesium is associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, which could be due to the role magnesium plays in glucose metabolism.

Low dietary magnesium intake has been related to the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Benefits of consuming more magnesium, through supplements and diet has been found in diabetic patients on metabolic profiles; improving insulin resistance.**

Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.

Magnesium in Disease Prevention and Overall Health. Stella Lucia Volpe Adv Nutr. 2013 May; 4(3): 378S–383S.Published online 2013 May 6.

Larsson SC, Wolk A. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. J Intern Med 2007;262:208-14.

Buse JB, Polonsky KS, Burant CF. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011: chap 31.

** Disclaimer

Please note there is still insufficient evidence to support the exact routine use of magnesium being used as a medical treatment option to improve glycemic control. Consult with your health care professional before beginning taking magnesium. This article is not providing medical information or advice, making no representations or warranties in relation to the medical information you have received from your doctor.  This article does not provide treatment, diagnosis, medical advice, or cures. If you have any questions and concerns about any medical matter you should consult your doctor. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention and let the nutritionist know.



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