Magnesium and diabetes

Type 2 diabetics often have a magnesium deficiency. Low serum magnesium levels not only increase the risk of type 2 diabetes but also influence the course of the disease.

LINK BETWEEN MAGNESIUM AND DIABETES

There are currently about eight million people with diabetes living in Germany. Most of them, around 90 per cent, suffer from type 2 diabetes. In addition to excess body weight and a lack of exercise, magnesium also plays an important role in the development and progression of this disease.  

The hormone insulin regulates our blood sugar. The main cause of type 2 diabetes is impaired insulin function. This is called insulin resistance, which is when the body's cells are less sensitive to insulin and too little glucose is absorbed from the blood, leading to increased blood sugar levels.   

Magnesium is required for the insulin receptors to work properly and therefore plays a key role in insulin function.  For this reason, magnesium deficiency increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

WHY DO DIABETICS OFTEN HAVE MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY?

There may be several reasons for this. Type 2 diabetes leads to changes in renal function, resulting in increased elimination of magnesium in the urine. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies. Moreover, diabetics often do not obtain enough magnesium through their diet. If they are taking medications such as diuretics, acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors) or laxatives, magnesium deficiency may be further exacerbated.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY IN DIABETICS?

Low serum magnesium levels not only increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but also influence the course of the disease in people who already have type 2 diabetes.  

Regular magnesium intake reduces the risk of magnesium deficiency and therefore also the risk of complications from diabetes. As magnesium levels decrease, the risk of developing retinopathy (a long-term complication of diabetes affecting the retina) increases. Likewise, the risk of developing diabetic polyneuropathy (PNP), a disease of the nerve endings, may increase with a magnesium deficiency. Studies have also shown that neuropathy can be improved by administering magnesium.

HOW CAN MAGNESIUM HELP WITH DIABETES?

Adequate magnesium intake has a positive effect on diabetes and is correlated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A systematic review of various studies shows that the risk of diabetes is reduced by 15% for every additional 100 mg of magnesium consumed.    

Magnesium intake also has a positive effect on the course of the disease in people who already have type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies show that daily supplementation with high-dose magnesium improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels.  

Adequate magnesium intake is therefore essential in preventing magnesium deficiency for both the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes. 
For this reason, healthy people also need to ensure that they are getting enough magnesium.

HOW MUCH MAGNESIUM IS RECOMMENDED?

It is important for people with diabetes to ensure that they are getting enough magnesium. The German Society for Magnesium Research (Gesellschaft für Magnesium-Forschung) recommends that diabetics supplement with up to 480 mg of magnesium per day.

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