Diabetics may get benefit from Magnesium Supplementation
Magnesium is an important mineral cation found in the body, mostly in the mitochondria. It takes part in various metabolisms in the body and acts as co-factor in many enzymes. Its role in glucose metabolism is very important; it acts along with insulin in maintaining glucose homeostasis.
The blood level of magnesium is maintained in a very narrow range: 1.7 mg to 2.4 mg/100 ml. Its balance is maintained or influenced by levels of sodium, potassium and calcium inside the cell. The daily requirement of magnesium is around 300 mgs.
It is mostly found in whole grains. Processing grains such as rice, wheat and maize removes as much as 82%, 83% and 92% of magnesium respectively. The next rich source is drinking water, but intense farming altering the salinity of soil and acid rain result in a deficiency of this mineral in the soil and, consequently, reduced availability in drinking water.
As the main concentration is inside the cell, a sub-normal state may exist with a normal blood level, and sub-clinical magnesium deficiency is most common in the general population.
Its use in medicine is old. It is used as purgative, antacid, anti-arrhythmic and dehydrating agent in oozing wounds.
Recently, a renewed interest has been created in the research of this long- forgotten mineral for its possible role in glucose metabolism and beneficial effect on diabetes mellitus. This mineral also keeps good health of endothelium, the inner cell lining of blood vessels, and thus prevents thrombus formation and heart attack.
Researchers have found that low levels of magnesium are associated with diabetes, and high levels with a reduced risk of developing diabetes in the general population.
They followed a group of 4497 men and women aged 18 to 34 years for 20 years, and found that a high magnesium intake i.e. about 200 mg/day is associated with 47% reduced risk of developing diabetes. At the same time, low magnesium intake, i.e. 100mg/day is associated with increased risk of developing diabetes.
It has been seen that magnesium acts in conjunction with insulin to regulate blood glucose and its metabolism in mitochondria. A low level is associated with insulin resistance and supplementation reduces the insulin resistance. Insulin again facilitates its entry into the cell.
Magnesium, like zinc, is perhaps an important mineral that may require supplementation in diabetics as well as the normal population.