Magnesium supplementation may cut diabetes risk

Daily magnesium supplementation may help overweight individuals who have become insulin resistant improve their condition and avoid type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from German researchers.

Reporting in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, researchers from the Justus Liebig University said that low levels of magnesium have been shown in several recent studies to be strongly correlated with an increased risk of metabolic dysfunction.

In fact, a 2004 study that appeared in the journal Diabetes Care found that children with low magnesium levels were significantly more likely to become insulin resistant, which dramatically elevates an individual's risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Other studies have confirmed the relationship between low levels of magnesium and insulin resistance.



For the present study, researchers wanted to see if taking oral magnesium supplements could correct this problem. They recruited 52 participants who were overweight and insulin resistant but who did not have diabetes. For a period of six months, half the group received active magnesium supplements while the remaining group was given a placebo.



At the end of the study period, the researchers found that participants who received active supplements had much healthier blood sugar levels. Additionally, they improved in measures of insulin sensitivity.

However, participants who took the supplements did not show any improvement in their blood pressure, which is also generally associated with low levels of magnesium. Still, the researchers said that the improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood sugar were so great that patients who are at risk for type 2 diabetes should consider supplementation.

"The results provide significant evidence that oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity even in overweight, non-diabetic subjects, emphasizing the need for an early optimization of magnesium status to prevent insulin resistance and subsequently type 2 diabetes," they wrote in their report.
 
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