Magnesium and Diabetes
Before answering the question, is magnesium good for diabetics? it helps to explain the connection between the two. Magnesium is one of the most essential macronutrients in your body. Not only is it vital to the function of the brain and other organs, but this nutrient helps regulate the body’s blood sugar. For many people suffering from diabetes, magnesium deficiency is common and studies show people with a magnesium deficiency may be predisposed to diabetes 2.
While magnesium deficiencies can be prevalent with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, studies show that it occurs more often with type 2 diabetes. Low levels of magnesium are also associated with insulin resistance, thereby making the symptoms of diabetes more noticeable.
With type 2 diabetes, the body does produce some insulin, just not enough to operate correctly. This problem is referred to as insulin resistance. If you have this type of insulin sensitivity, you might lose an excessive amount of magnesium in your urine, which can contribute to a deficiency. It’s also possible for type 1 diabetics to develop insulin resistance.
With the above-explained relationship between magnesium and diabetes 2, it’s important to determine whether you are struggling with a deficiency. Taking a daily supplement may be what you need to get the magnesium your body needs.
The Role of Magnesium in Glucose Metabolism
To determine whether or not magnesium is good for diabetics, it’s important to understand how magnesium affects glucose metabolism. In this 2017 study, a team of researchers focused on magnesium supplementation while watching glucose and insulin-sensitivity parameters in test subjects.
The study used 12 people that have diabetes and six people who were high-risk. Magnesium supplementation reduced the fasting plasma glucose in those with diabetes and those who were high-risk. Magnesium also demonstrated level reductions in insulin resistance.
At the end of the study, it was concluded that “Mg supplementation appears to have a beneficial role and improves glucose parameters in people with diabetes and also improves insulin-sensitivity parameters in those at high risk of diabetes.”
This is one of many studies demonstrating the magnesium benefits for diabetes. Even the American Diabetes Association posted a study of 63 subjects that have type 2 diabetes. This research showed that those taking the magnesium supplement presented lower insulin-resistance numbers and better fasting glucose levels than the control subjects. It was concluded that “oral supplementation with MgCl2 solution restores serum magnesium levels, improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic patients with decreased serum magnesium levels.”
Which Magnesium is Best for Diabetics?
When looking at different magnesium supplements and diabetes, evaluate the various forms available. Magnesium types include:
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium carbonate
- Magnesium sulfate
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium taurate
- Magnesium gluconate
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium threonate
- Magnesium aspartate
Magnesium supplements aren’t all created equally. Some work better for various ailments than others because of the absorption rates. In fact, a few varieties work best as liquids, allowing for faster absorption into the body. The NIH states that magnesium lactate, citrate, chloride, and aspartate have quickest absorption rates, especially when compared with magnesium sulfate or oxide.
The NIH also performed studies showing that both 1,000 mg of magnesium oxide or 300 mg of magnesium chloride were beneficial for glycemic control and fasting glucose. However another NIH study asked the question, can diabetics take magnesium tablets? and found that one particular magnesium aspartate product did not show significant improvement after three months.
More research is needed to significantly prove the benefit of magnesium chloride and diabetes. Still, we have seen many people control blood sugar with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and taking high-quality magnesium supplements. The key is finding a liquid formula that absorbs quickly and doesn’t cause further digestive issues.
Can Diabetics Take Magnesium Supplements?
If you are suffering from a magnesium deficiency as a result of diabetes, you may find that increasing your magnesium level through diet and supplementation helps you to feel your best. The NIH recommends that most adults get between 350 and 400 mg of magnesium daily.
You may be able to achieve this through your diet by adding magnesium-rich foods, including:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Peanut butter
- Enriched breakfast cereals
- Whole grains
- Chicken breast
- Ground beef
Some tap water and bottled water sources also provide magnesium, but this varies based on location and filtration processes. While it’s helpful to look at magnesium deficiency symptoms to determine your risk, the only real way to know if you are lacking this nutrient is through a blood test. The most common signs include muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea and a loss of appetite.
If you believe you are magnesium deficient and have trouble getting the recommended amount through your diet, a supplement might be your best option.
Side Effects and Risks
Answering the question, is magnesium good for diabetics, isn’t a simple yes or no. Whether you’re diabetic or not, it’s essential to only take the amount of magnesium you need. Otherwise, you might face some side effects and various risks. For some people, taking magnesium can lead to a laxative effect. This reaction is minimized when taking liquid magnesium with a high absorption rate.
For people who can’t tolerate taking oral supplements, it’s often better to choose a topical cream instead. When you start any new lotion, you want to test it on the skin in a small area first to ensure you won’t suffer from skin irritation.
If you take an excessive amount of magnesium, you could end up with toxicity problems. Symptoms of magnesium toxicity include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heart rate
- Cardiac arrest
If you suffer from kidney ailments, you have a higher risk of magnesium toxicity due to the kidneys’ inability to remove the excessive magnesium from the body. If you are unsure whether you should be taking a magnesium supplement, speak with your healthcare professional before starting a new regimen.
Your doctor has a better understanding of the conditions you are battling as well as the current medications you are taking, so their guidance could be invaluable in not only answering the question of whether or not magnesium is good for diabetics, but whether or not magnesium is right for you.