(NaturalNews) Eating a diet high in magnesium may significantly lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and published in the journal Diabetes Care.
"Increasing magnesium intake may be important for improving insulin sensitivity, reducing systemic inflammation, and decreasing diabetes risk," the researchers wrote.
The researchers compared magnesium intake and diabetes rates in 4,497 people who were free of diabetes when they began the study between the ages of 18 and 30. Twenty years later, 330 of the participants had developed Type 2 diabetes.
The risk of diabetes was 47 percent lower among participants with the highest magnesium intake than among those with the lowest. In addition, levels of insulin resistance and key inflammation markers decreased as intake of the mineral increased.
The highest magnesium intakes in the study were approximately 200 milligrams daily per 1,000 calories consumed. The lowest were approximately 100 milligrams daily per 1,000 calories. Intake came both from food sources and from supplements.
The researchers said that more research will be necessary to understand the chemical mechanisms underlying the effect, and to make sure that magnesium is the nutrient causing the reduction in diabetes rates, and not some associated variable.
"Further large-scale clinical trials are needed to establish causal inference and elucidate the mechanisms behind this potential benefit," they wrote.
Magnesium is known to play a role in regulating certain glucose-processing enzymes, and prior studies have linked higher intakes with lower diabetes risk.
"The journal Diabetes Care published a study in which overweight women who consumed large amounts of magnesium were 22 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women who consumed lower amounts," writes Phyllis A. Balch in the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition.
Good dietary sources of magnesium include whole grains, green leafy vegetables and nuts.