The importance of magnesium in the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes
11/13/2018 // Vicki Batts // Views

Estimates suggest that over 30 million Americans have some form of diabetes, and it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise nationwide, and its prevalence is increasing in both adults and children; to say that type 2 diabetes is a major health concern is putting it mildly. Experts say that one-third of adult Americans could be affected by type 2 diabetes by the year 2050 if something doesn't change. Conventional medicine has long relied on a pharmaceutical approach to treating people with type 2 diabetes, but research has consistently shown that proper diet and exercise are two of the biggest controllable risk factors in the onset of this disease. Now, scientists say that one particular nutrient could help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes: Magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for over 300 different enzyme systems responsible for regulating an array of biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and most pertinently, blood sugar control.

Study links magnesium and type 2 diabetes

New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that achieving ideal magnesium intake can help prevent type 2 diabetes, as well as improve blood glucose levels in people who've already been diagnosed with the condition.

As Natural Health 365 explains, magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels through its effect on insulin receptor response. For these receptors to respond properly to insulin, adequate levels of the nutrient are required.


The "standard American diet" is known for being deficient in just about every nutrient. Just 12 percent of the average American's diet comes from plants -- and half of that is attributed to french fries. That means just six percent of the calories most adults in the U.S. eat are coming from fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

A staggering 63 percent of calorie content comes from refined and processed foods and 25 percent comes from animal products. It is no surprise that we are so nutrient-deficient. As the Environmental Working Group reports, estimates from 2014 suggest that around 61 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium.

That is more than half the adult population. If one-third of adults are expected to get type 2 diabetes by 2050, it is reasonable to suspect that many of them will be magnesium deficient.

According to Natural Health 365, a study published in the journal Diabetes Metabolism found that magnesium supplementation was effective at reducing blood sugar levels in adults diagnosed with prediabetes and magnesium deficiency.

Get more magnesium

From what the research says, getting enough magnesium every day is key to preventing type 2 diabetes, and it is helpful even for those who've already been diagnosed. As Everyday Health reports:

Research suggests consuming 100 milligrams (mg) of magnesium through eating foods rich in the mineral may decrease the risk of diabetes by 15 percent. Researchers noted more study would be needed before recommending a magnesium supplement to prevent diabetes.

The site notes further that the National Institutes of Health suggest that women who are between 19- and 30- years old get at least 310 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily. Men in the same age range need at least 400 mg.

Women aged 31 and older should consume at 320 mg every day, and men should take in 420 mg.

Experts say that people with diabetes are also at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency if they have uncontrolled, high blood sugar levels, because their bodies may be excreting more of the mineral through excess urination (a classic diabetes symptom).

Fortunately, there are many foods that are rich in magnesium to choose from. Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains are all excellent sources of magnesium. Some examples of these foods include spinach, almonds, cashews, peanuts and black beans, but there are many more.

Learn more about what you can do to stay healthy at

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