Low Magnesium May Play Key Role in Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
By Dr. Mercola
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. If you don’t have enough of it, your body simply cannot function at its best. Insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems.
As reported by GreenMedInfo,1 researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, reflecting how important this mineral is to a great many biological processes.
For example, magnesium plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and therefore is important for minimizing damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins.
Even glutathione, considered by many to be your body’s most powerful antioxidant, requires magnesium in order to be produced.
Magnesium also plays roles in preventing migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes), sudden cardiac death, and even reduces death from all causes.
This important mineral is required by more than 300 different enzymes in your body, which play important roles in the following biochemical processes, many of which are crucial for proper metabolic function:
Creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy molecules of your body Proper formation of bones and teeth Relaxation of blood vessels Action of your heart muscle Promotion of proper bowel function Regulation of blood sugar levels
Low Magnesium Levels Consistently Found in Those with Elevated Insulin
In just the past year, there have been several significant studies about magnesium’s role in keeping your metabolism running like a well-oiled clock—specifically in terms of insulin sensitivity, glucose regulation, and protection from type 2 diabetes. Here are just a few:
- One 2013 study involving pre-diabetics found that most had inadequate magnesium intake. Those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by a whopping 71 percent.2
- An ADA study from October 20133 found that higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes in middle-aged Americans. Researchers stated, “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk.”
- In a large Japanese study (the Hisayama Study) published in Diabetic Medicine December 2013, researchers found magnesium intake was a significant protective factor against type 2 diabetes in the general Japanese population, especially among those “with insulin resistance, low-grade inflammation and a drinking habit.”4
- And in the Framingham Offspring cohort (2006), higher magnesium intake improved insulin sensitivity and reduced type 2 diabetes risk.5
Why Is Magnesium So Critical for Proper Metabolic Function?
The mechanism by which magnesium controls glucose and insulin homeostasis appears to involve two genes responsible for magnesium homeostasis.6 Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors.
It is well known that people with insulin resistance also experience increased excretion of magnesium in their urine, which further contributes to diminished magnesium levels. This magnesium loss appears to be secondary to increased urinary glucose, which increases urinary output.7
Therefore, inadequate magnesium intake seems to prompt a vicious cycle of low magnesium levels, elevated insulin and glucose levels, and excess magnesium excretion. In other words, the less magnesium your body has, the less it appears to be able to “hang onto it.8
Rarely do so many studies from around the world find universal agreement on a subject! The evidence is clear: if you want to optimize your metabolism and keep your risk for type 2 diabetes low, one of the things you need to do is consume adequate magnesium. Unfortunately, this is not the norm, as an estimated 80 percent of Americans are magnesium deficient.
Are Your Magnesium Levels Up to Par?
Dietary surveys suggest that the majority of Americans are simply not getting enough magnesium from their diets alone. Other factors that can make you more prone to magnesium deficiency include:
An unhealthy digestive system: which impairs your body’s ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, etc.) Diabetes: especially if poorly controlled, leading to increased magnesium loss in urine Age: older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption Unhealthy kidneys: which contribute to excessive loss of magnesium in the urine Alcoholism: up to 60 percent of alcoholics have low blood levels of magnesium Certain medications: diuretics, antibiotics, and medications used to treat cancer can result in magnesium deficiency
Magnesium Deficiency Can Lead to Heart Arrhythmias, Coronary Spasms, and Seizures
There’s no lab test that will give you an accurate reading of the magnesium status in your tissues. The reason for this is that only one percent of the magnesium in your body is found in your blood. Fifty to 60 percent resides in your bones, and the remaining is in your soft tissues. Since most of your magnesium is stored inside your cells and bone rather than in blood plasma, there are no satisfactory blood tests for assessing it.
That said, some specialty labs do provide an RBC magnesium test, which is reasonably accurate. Other tests your doctor may use to evaluate your magnesium status include a 24-hour urine test or a sublingual epithelial test. Still, these can only give you an estimate of your levels, and doctors typically need to evaluate them in light of the symptoms you exhibit. Early signs of magnesium deficiency may include headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, and fatigue or weakness. However, ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to far more serious symptoms such as:
- Abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms
- Muscle cramps and contractions
- Numbness and tingling
- Personality changes
In her book, The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean lists 100 factors that will help you decide whether or not you might be deficient. You can also follow the instructions in her blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms,”9 which will give you a checklist to go through every few weeks. This will help you gauge how much magnesium you need in order to take away your deficiency symptoms.
Your Best Magnesium Source: REAL Food
Most people can keep their magnesium levels in the therapeutic range without resorting to supplements, simply by eating a varied diet, including plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables. However, it is important to remember that the magnesium content of your foods depends on the richness of magnesium in the soil where they’re grown. Most soils are now sorely depleted of nutrients, and for this reason, some magnesium experts, such as Dr. Dean, believe that virtually everyone needs to take supplemental magnesium. Organic foods may have more magnesium if grown in nutrient-rich soils but it is very difficult to make that determination.
One way to really increase your magnesium, as well as many other important plant-based nutrients, is by juicing your greens. I typically drink one pint to one quart of fresh green vegetable juice every day, and this is one of my primary sources of magnesium. An article in GreenMedInfo lists more than 20 foods that are exceptionally high in magnesium, including the following (for the full list, please refer to the original report). All listed portions equate to 100 grams, or just over three ounces:
Red Algae often grows vif coral becomes bleached
By : Johnmartindavies
Seaweed, agar, dried (770 mg)
A scene of Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) leaves
Spice, coriander leaf, dried (694 mg)
Pumpkin seeds By : Mk2010
Dried pumpkin seeds (535 mg)
…..A bowl of cocoa powder. By : blairWikimedia.orgCocoa, dry powder, unsweetened (499 mg)…..Basil FreshBasil Basilico Ocimum basilicum albahaca (Thai Basil)By : CastielliWikimedia.org
Dried formSpices, basil, dried (422 mg)
Flaxseed (392 mg)
Raw Almonds By : Sanjay ach
Almond butter Recipe By : Hug A Tree With Me
Almond butter (303 mg)
Whey Protein on Diplay at Health Food Store
By : Adrem68
Whey, sweet, dried (176 mg)