(NaturalHealth365) According to U.S. government ‘health’ statistics, over 30 million adults in the United States are living with type 2 diabetes. And, an astounding one third of all American adults will have developed the disease by the year 2050 – if current trends continue. Yet, most people remain uninformed about the link between low magnesium and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Now, a new study shows that getting sufficient magnesium not only helps prevent diabetes, but improves blood sugar levels in individuals who already have the condition. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t consume the recommended daily amount of this essential mineral.
Study reveals: Low magnesium linked to problems with insulin resistance
Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation – in those who have low magnesium – can help reduce insulin resistance, a major factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Here’s how it works.
Blood sugar (glucose) levels normally increase after meals. The job of insulin – a hormone produced in the pancreas – is to “escort” the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.
If blood sugar levels remain too high over time, the body tries to address the problem by secreting too much insulin – which eventually causes the insulin receptors on cells to stop responding.
As more and more insulin is secreted (and the insulin receptors continue to “ignore” it), blood sugar levels rise higher and higher – and type 2 diabetes is the result.
Here’s where magnesium – or lack of it – fits into the picture.
For the appropriate response of insulin receptors to insulin, sufficient levels of magnesium are required.
But, in a classic “vicious cycle,” elevated insulin levels cause excessive amounts of magnesium to be excreted – leaving the mineral (needed to manage insulin in the first place) in even shorter supply.
Study: Magnesium supplementation reduces blood sugar levels of prediabetic adults
In a placebo-controlled study published in Diabetes Metabolism, researchers set out to examine the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in reducing blood sugar levels in prediabetic adults with magnesium deficiencies.
Prediabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels that do not meet the clinical threshold for diabetes. If untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes.
The participants were divided into two groups, with one group receiving 382 mg of magnesium per day, and the other receiving a placebo.
The team found that blood sugar levels in the magnesium group decreased significantly, along with triglycerides – or fats in the blood. Levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, rose substantially.
Ultimately, half of all participants in the magnesium group significantly improved their blood sugar levels. In addition, there’s even more research that showcases the benefits of magnesium for diabetes.
In one study, patients with type 2 diabetes and low magnesium received 500 mg a day of magnesium chloride for 16 weeks – and experienced significant reductions in fasting glucose, along with normalization of blood levels of magnesium.
Other studies have shown that the risk of type 2 diabetes plummets by 19 percent for every 100 mg-increase in magnesium intake per day.
Health ALERT: Low magnesium levels can increase risk of deadly pancreatic cancer
Upon being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, an individual has a four- to seven-fold increase in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer within three years.
The disturbing fact is: 80 percent of the time, patients with pancreatic cancer have diabetes, prediabetes or some form of glucose intolerance when diagnosed.
And, here a pair of eye-opening statistics that truly highlight the need for sufficient magnesium levels.
For every 100-mg drop in magnesium intake per day, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer goes up by 24 percent. And: individuals with an intake less than 75 percent of the RDA have a 76 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer – when compared to those with optimal intake.
The Institutes of Medicine advise that women consume 320 mg of magnesium a day, while men should get 420 mg.
Depleted magnesium levels in soil contribute to magnesium inadequacy
In addition to regulating blood sugar, magnesium helps to synthesize protein, control blood pressure and build bone. It is also essential for proper nerve, heart and muscle function.
And, deficiencies in magnesium are associated with raised risk of migraine, osteoporosis and stroke – as well as with risk of insulin resistance and pancreatic cancer.
Obviously, you can’t afford to be lacking in this essential mineral.
Yet, experts say that most people in the United States don’t get enough magnesium from dietary sources, resulting in magnesium inadequacy (magnesium intake that falls below the RDA but above the amount that causes overt deficiency).
Older adults are particularly at risk for magnesium inadequacy. Not only are they more likely to have diseases that lower magnesium, they are also more likely to take magnesium-depleting medications (such as diuretics).
Experts report that the magnesium content of the soil has been declining steadily over the past sixty years, due to modern commercial farming techniques – which rely heavily on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Although these minerals are needed by plants in order to produce chlorophyll, they can also compete with magnesium for absorption.
How can I avoid shortfalls of magnesium?
You can boost your dietary magnesium intake be eating healthy amounts of organic green leafy vegetables, along with nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
Nutrition tip: Foods that are high in natural fiber also tend to be high in magnesium.
If you feel that you still may be low in magnesium, you may want to consider supplementation.
Of course, check with your integrative physician before supplementing. High doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea and cramping – and megadoses can be dangerous.
(Note: no need to worry about obtaining excess magnesium from foods, however. Excess dietary magnesium is simply excreted).
If you choose to supplement, be aware that not all forms of magnesium are “created equal.”
For instance, studies have shown that magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride and magnesium lactate are absorbed more completely than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.
The takeaway: when it comes to avoiding chronic, life-threatening diseases, maintaining optimal levels of magnesium is one of the most advantageous things you can do – especially if you are of mature years.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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