Low magnesium levels may increase the risk of complications in type 2 diabetics

A new study from a team of Brazilian researchers has found that low levels of magnesium may worsen the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, as this often results in low levels of insulin and elevated blood sugar.

The researchers reported their findings in the journal Clinical Nutrition. They said that a diabetic's ability to control blood sugar levels is closely tied to their magnesium levels, as the mineral plays an important role in insulin receptor cells.

The findings are the second in a string of research connecting magnesium to healthy insulin levels. In fact, a study published in the latest issue of the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism found that taking oral magnesium supplements may help individuals who have become insulin resistant avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

For the current study, researchers from the University of Sao Paulo measured the blood sugar and magnesium levels of 51 patients who were being treated for type 2 diabetes. They found that 77 percent of the participants were magnesium deficient. Furthermore, the lower an individual's magnesium levels, the higher their blood sugar levels were.

The researchers said that combination of chronically high blood sugar levels and low magnesium may increase the risk of major diabetes complications, including kidney disease. They recommended that doctors test their diabetic patients for magnesium levels and provide appropriate treatment based on the results.

"Analysis of magnesium status in the routine assessment of such patients, or at least for those who are not able to reach the desired glycemic standards, would be useful in evaluating the risks relating to chronic complications in diabetes," the researchers wrote in their report. "Such strategy may help the management of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of long-term severe complications."