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Magnesium Supplementation in Type 2 Diabetes

5/13/2019 4:51:15 PM
magnesiumMagnesium is thought to support insulin sensitivity via numerous mechanisms. Magnesium facilitates the translocation of glucose transporter number 4 (GLUT 4) and enhances insulin receptor activity by activating tyrosine-kinase phosphorylation. Magnesium also acts as a mild calcium agonist, acting to reduce intracellular calcium and calcium-induced cell death. Lower intracellular magnesium concentrations are found in patients with type 2 diabetes, but the benefits of magnesium supplementation remain controversial in these patients.

Study examines magnesium's effect on diabetes-related parameters

A randomized controlled trial of magnesium supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes investigated the effects of supplementation on markers of insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Forty patients (aged 35-60 years) with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes completed the trial. Participants were instructed to follow a prescribed diet plan for one week before the trial and to consume a healthy diet (5 servings of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, less than 30% of calories from fat, and less than 5% of calories from free sugars) throughout the study period.
Participants were randomized to take one Jamieson magnesium tablet per day (providing 250 mg of elemental magnesium from magnesium oxide, gluconate, lactate) or no supplementation for 3 weeks. Fasting blood sugar, serum calcium, serum magnesium, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), fasting C-peptide, and fasting insulin levels were measured.

Several improvements noted with magnesium supplemetation

Within the intervention group, all of the parameters of glycemic control improved significantly (p<.05) from baseline to 3-weeks. Fasting blood sugar decreased from a mean of 158.6 mg/dL to 148.05 mg/dL, HbA1c decreased from 8.32% to 7.96%, fasting insulin decreased from 15.65 microIU/mL to 12.18 microIU/mL, C-peptide decreased from 2.28 ng/mL to 1.90 ng/mL, and HOMA-IR decreased from 6.16 to 4.44. There was also a significant increase in serum magnesium levels and a reduction in the calcium: magnesium ratio in the intervention group, indicating that magnesium supplements were well absorbed.  
When compared with the control group at the end of the trial, all of the parameters of glycemic control (except fasting blood sugar) were significantly better in the magnesium group. Although the difference between groups for fasting blood sugar did not reach statistical significance, it should be noted that fasting blood sugar decreased by ~10 mg/dL in the intervention group and increased by ~10 mg/dL in the control group.
This clinical trial involved only 40 participants and evaluated outcomes after only 3 weeks, but the results provide preliminary evidence that magnesium supplementation improves glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
ELDerawi WA, Naser IA, Taleb MH, Abutair AS. The Effects of Oral Magnesium Supplementation on Glycemic Response among Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Nutrients. 2018; 11.

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