Magnesium Can Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Daily supplements of magnesium may improve insulin sensitivity and help reduce the risk of diabetes in overweight people, a new German study suggests.

In the randomized controlled trial, 52 overweight, non-diabetic participants received magnesium supplements at a dose of 365 mg per day or placebo for six months (1).

In order to study the effect of oral magnesium supplementation on diabetes risk, researchers looked at several important markers for insulin sensitivity, such blood glucose levels, blood insulin levels, blood pressure and overall lipid profile.

The study results showed that two out of three measures of insulin sensitivity (blood glucose and insulin levels) improved significantly following magnesium supplementation, and there was also a trend towards an improvement in blood pressure as well..

The scientists concluded that the study provides significant evidence that magnesium supplementation ameliorates insulin resistance and subsequently type-2 diabetes in obese people.

Magnesium supplementation was effective even in people who had “normal” blood levels of magnesium to begin with!

According to the researchers, several mechanisms may be responsible for the beneficial effect of magnesium on insulin resistance, including direct effects of magnesium on the insulin receptor and its signaling processes.

In 2007, the results from a meta-analysis of observational including 286,668 participants had shown that, for every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type-2 diabetes decreased by 15 percent (2).

Magnesium is one of my seven basic “can’t-do-without” supplements. I recommend magnesium for everyone. It’s required for over 300 metabolic operations, nearly no one gets enough of it, it helps support strong bones, it’s relaxing, and it lowers blood pressure, all in addition to its positive effect on insulin resistance and diabetes risk.


1. Mooren F. C. et al. Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non- diabetic subjects – a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2011.

2. Larsson S. C. and Wolk A. Magnesium intake and risk of type-2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. J Intern Med. 2007; 262(2):208–214.

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Author: Jonny Bowden

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka "The Nutrition Myth Buster") is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology and the author of fourteen books on health, healing, food and longevity including three best-sellers, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”, “Living Low Carb”, and "The Great Cholesterol Myth".

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    What sort of magnesium was it?

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    “Magnesium is one of my seven basic “can’t-do-without” supplements.” Just curious, what are the other 6?

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