Adequate daily magnesium can help normalise blood sugar levels in prediabetics. [Photo: Bigstock]

Magnesium supplement aids blood sugar control

4 September, 2015

Natural Health News – Supplementing with magnesium can help improve the blood sugar processing in prediabetic patients, new research has shown.

In prediabetics, the body has an impaired response to insulin – a hormone that lowers blood glucose – and his leads to elevated blood glucose levels.

In addition, it has been shown that people with prediabetes have lower levels of magnesium in the blood than people without the condition.

What you need to know

» Magnesium is necessary to help regulate sensitivity to insulin and blood glucose levels.

» People with prediabetes, have been shown to be deficient in magnesium.

» The current study found that a liquid supplement containing 382mg of magnesium daily pushed blood sugar levels of prediabetics down to within normal range and produced other beneficial changes including better balance of cholesterol in the blood.

Magnesium is an important nutrient for people with prediabetes and diabetes, in part because it appears to help regulate insulin secretion.  Studies over the last decade have shown that low intake of this essential mineral is a risk factor for developing type-2 diabetes.

Reducing blood sugar

This new study looked at 116 prediabetes patients with low levels of magnesium. Half received a liquid magnesium supplement, containing 382 mg of magnesium once daily, the other half took a placebo. Both groups were followed for four months.

Half of the patients in the magnesium group showed improvements in their blood sugar profile, in comparison to just 7% of those taking a placebo.

Fasting glucose (glucose levels after a period without meals) were reduced from 113.5 mg/dl to 86.9 mg/dl in the magnesium supplement patients (the range considered normal is 70 to 100 mg/dl). A significantly smaller reduction was observed in the control group – from 110.5 mg/dl to 98.3 mg/dl.

A similar trend was observed in the results of a test of glucose levels 2 hours following a glucose drink. In other words the magnesium brought blood sugar levels in prediabetics to within normal range. Response to insulin, cholesterol levels and blood magnesium levels were significantly improved.

Previous research

The new study adds to the total picture of magnesium’s usefulness in prediabetes and diabetes.

Previous research has shown that higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from prediabetes to diabetes.

A 2007 analysis showed that for each 100 mg of magnesium consumed daily, the risk of diabetes is decreased by 15%. Another in 2011 found that that the higher the daily dose or magnesium, the lower the risk of diabetes seems to be.

How much to take?

But how much magnesium to supplement with, remains difficult to judge. The recommended intake for adult women is around 350mg per day, for men 400mg.

Earlier this year US researchers looked at specific interactions of diet, genetics, and ethnicity in determining magnesium-mediated diabetes risk in postmenopausal black and Hispanic women. The study aimed to account for all genes known to regulate how the body handles magnesium. What they found was that the way the body utilities magnesium varies so greatly that one size fits all recommendations may not be helpful over the long term.

Likewise if you are taking magnesium, you should consider taking calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 as well, since these nutrients work synergistically with one another.

The best advice remains to consult your healthcare practitioner if you have prediabetes and are concerned that you may be deficient in magnesium.

Dietary measures

If you want to increase magnesium through your diet seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are rich sources of magnesium. Avocados also contain magnesium as do pulses, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Try juicing your vegetables to ensure you’re getting the most nutrition from them.

Regular baths or foot baths with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) can be absorbed into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil can also be applied topically.