Magnesium and Blood Sugar

What's the connection?

Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and adverse glucose and insulin metabolism that may progress to type-2 diabetes. Previous research suggests a correlation between dietary magnesium and insulin resistance, though most Americans fail to achieve the Recommended Daily Allowance for the mineral. 

Yunsheng Ma, from the Medical School of Yangzhou University (China), and colleagues enrolled 234 men and women with metabolic syndrome, in a dietary intervention study. The team assessed magnesium via questionnaires at the study's start, and at six and 12 months. Fasting glucose and insulin levels were collected at the three time points, and insulin resistance was calculated by a standard assessment. The data revealed that dietary magnesium intake was inversely as statistically significantly associated with metabolic markers of insulin resistance. For those subjects who met the RDA for magnesium however, the risk of having elevated markers was decreased by 63%.

The study authors conclude that: “These findings indicate that dietary magnesium intake is inadequate among non-diabetic individuals with [Metabolic Syndrome] and suggest that increasing dietary magnesium to meet the RDA has a protective effect on insulin resistance.”

Recommended Daily Allowance

Intake recommendations for magnesium and other nutrients vary by sex and age. The recommended daily allowance is defined as the "average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy individuals." For most adults, this level is between 300-400mg daily. Some individuals, including women who are nursing, people who experience high stress levels and those taking certain medications may require a higher magnesium intake.

Sources of Magnesium

Only 30% to 40% of the dietary magnesium consumed is typically absorbed by the body.

Magnesium is widely distributed in plant and animal foods and in beverages. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are good sources. In general, foods containing dietary fiber provide magnesium. Magnesium is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. Some types of food processing, such as refining grains in ways that remove the nutrient-rich germ and bran, lower magnesium content substantially.  (from the National Institute for Health's Office for Dietary Supplements)

Supplementation with a high quality mineral complex can help to fulfill your recommended intake of magnesium, calcium and other important nutrients. Calcium, magnesium and zinc are commonly found together and are three times as nice!