by Craig Weatherby
Magnesium plays an essential part in the regulation of many cell and metabolic processes.
This probably explains the accumulating evidence that magnesium improves blood sugar control.
And judging by the results of a new study, having low magnesium blood levels worsens diabetes complications.
The results show that magnesium intake was inadequate in 82 percent of the diabetics studied, with the lowest levels found in those with kidney complications.
Further, about two-thirds (63 percent) of the subjects had low blood levels of magnesium.
Last year, a USDA researcher published an evidence review, in which he made several key points (Nielsen FH 2010):
About 60 percent of American adults do not consume sufficient magnesium.
Low magnesium levels are associated with many disease conditions characterized by chronic inflammation, including obesity.
Magnesium deficiency may contribute significantly to development chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, and cancer.
Before we take a look at a recent Brazilian study that strengthens the link between diabetes and magnesium, let’s review the existing evidence.
Low blood magnesium levels linked to diabetes risk and complications
Epidemiological studies suggest that adequate magnesium intake reduces the risk of developing diabetes significantly.
But the links between low magnesium blood levels and greater risk of the disease and worse symptoms is even greater… possibly indicating that some diabetics have difficulty using magnesium they consume.
The body’s capacity to produce insulin relies in part on magnesium, which is needed for the activation of insulin receptors and for stimulation of body chemicals involved in insulin “signaling”.
And the chronically high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) that characterize diabetes lead to excessive loss of magnesium in the urine while increasing the risk of kidney damage and other complications associated with diabetes.
New study puts more importance on magnesium
The new research, conducted in Brazil, examined magnesium intake and blood levels in 51 patients with type 2 diabetes.
And the results tied the diabetics’ blood sugar (glucose) levels to their blood magnesium levels.
Specifically, those with higher blood magnesium levels had lower fasting and after-meal blood glucose levels.
In addition, higher urine levels of magnesium were linked to higher fasting glucose levels.
The authors noted that because magnesium is essential to all reactions that use and supply energy, it is not very surprising that low blood levels of the mineral are implicated in metabolic dysfunctions like diabetes.
They concluded that the impaired kidney function associated with diabetes may lead to high levels of magnesium in the urine, which, together with low magnesium intake, can cause a rise in blood sugar.
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