What Everyone with Type 2 Diabetes Should Know about Magnesium


If you have type 2 diabetes and you don’t know whether you are magnesium deficient or if you are getting enough magnesium in your diet, then keep reading. It’s been confirmed in a recent World Journal of Diabetes report that most people who have type 2 diabetes have low magnesium, and since this mineral has a key role in blood sugar (glucose) control, it’s a good idea to understand how much you have, how much you need, and how it can help you.

Read more about magnificent magnesium

Magnesium and diabetes

Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 biochemical activities in the body, and several of those activities are associated with magnesium metabolism, insulin, and glucose. Therefore, if blood (or plasma) levels of magnesium drop too low, anyone who has diabetes may expect to experience some difficulties.

For example, according to a new study appearing in Diabetes, hypomagnesemia (defined as a serum level of less than 0.7 mmol/L of magnesium; see values below) “has been strongly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” and that individuals with hypomagnesemia “show a more rapid disease progression and have an increased risk for diabetes complications.” It’s also been noted that older people with diabetes are more prone to hypomagnesemia, so it may be even more critical to check magnesium levels in older diabetics.

The authors went on to explain that people with type 2 diabetes who are deficient in magnesium are more insulin resistant and have reduced activity in their beta cells, which are the insulin producing cells. Magnesium supplementation, however, has been shown to improve glucose metabolism, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, magnesium deficiency, and sensitivity to insulin. At the same time, low dietary intake of magnesium has been associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.



Do you have low magnesium levels?

Approximately 75 percent of people in the United States don’t get the Recommended Daily Allowance of magnesium, so chances are you are low in this important mineral, and that includes people with type 2 diabetes. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, notes that some experts are calling for more money to “determine the need for supplementation,” yet magnesium is an “extremely safe mineral” so why not use that money to ensure people with type 2 diabetes, and others, get more magnesium in their diet and through supplementation.

You can have your magnesium levels checked using a blood test. Normal values of plasma magnesium concentration is 1.7 to 2.1 mg/dL, or 0.7 to 0.9 mmol/L, or 1.4 to 1.8 mEq/L. Different labs use different measuring standards, so be sure to discuss your findings with your healthcare provider.

One challenge concerning testing for magnesium levels is that the body, in an attempt to maintain homeostasis, tries to keep blood levels of magnesium stable by releasing the mineral from tissues and bone. Therefore, your test results may show normal magnesium levels even though you may be in the early stages of deficiency.

Magnesium levels also are affected by the use of certain medications. Drugs that can decrease magnesium levels include antibiotics, cyclosporine, digoxin, diuretics, insulin, laxatives, and phenytoin. Those that can cause magnesium levels to increase include antibiotics (yes, these drugs can have both effects), aspirin, thyroid medication, and products that contain magnesium, such as antacids.

Magnesium supplements are available in several forms, including tablets, capsules, lotions, bath salts, and oil. When taking an oral magnesium supplement, the mineral will be bound to other substances, which allows the body to better absorb and utilize the nutrient. Examples include magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium chelate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium oxide. The latter form is not well absorbed and may cause loose stools.

READ: 13 Signs You Are Deficient in Magnesium (and How to Fix It)

Topical magnesium in the form of lotion, gel, bath salts or oil (all as magnesium chloride) bypasses the digestive system (important for anyone who may experience side effects from oral magnesium) and is absorbed directly to the cells. If you’re not big on pills, then topical magnesium is a great alternative.

Great sources of dietary magnesium include leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, kefir, avocado, black beans, bananas, figs, dark chocolate, almonds, artichokes, and cashews.

[Editor's Note: Try the award-winning magnesium supplement Natural Calm from our partner Natural Vitality. Natural Vitality also has Bath Salts (plain and lavender), as well as a Cream.]

Sources
Barbagallo M and Dominiguez LJ. Magnesium and type 2 diabetes. World Journal of Diabetes 2015 Aug 25; 6(10): 1152-57
Dean C. Magnesium and type 2 diabetes
eMedicine. Hypomagnesemia
Gommers LM et al. Hypomagnesemia in type 2 diabetes: a vicious circle? Diabetes 2016 Jan; 65(1): 3-13
Lab Tests Online. Magnesium


By Deborah Mitchell| July 23, 2016
Categories:  Care

About the Author

Deborah Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell

Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently she lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit her at deborahmitchellbooks.com.



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