More Magnesium equals fewer diabetes cases

August 10, 2010

  Researchers from Japan report an association between a higher intake of the mineral magnesium and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes adding to the minerals ability to prevent the dreaded disease. Hiroyasu Iso, MD of Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine and his colleagues evaluated data from 17,592 men and women aged 40 to 79 who took part in the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk established between 1988 and 1990. Three-day dietary records and responses to questionnaires administered upon enrollment were analyzed for total magnesium intake. Primary food sources for the mineral included cereals, vegetables, beans and fish.

     At the 5-year follow-up, 459 new cases of diabetes were reported. Those whose intake of magnesium was among the top 25 percent of male participants had a 36 percent lower adjusted risk of developing diabetes than men whose intake was lowest, and for women, the risk experienced by the highest 25 percent was 32 percent lower.

“To our knowledge, no study has examined the association between magnesium intake and the risk of diabetes in Japanese living in Japan,” the authors announce. They note that magnesium is a cofactor for several enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, and a deficiency of the mineral may increase peripheral insulin resistance and impair glucose utilization. Previous research has found a benefit for magnesium supplements on fasting glucose level in diabetics and non-diabetics. With the increased prevalence of diabetes in Asian countries, the study’s findings are important for the development of national health policies to help prevent and control this potentially devastating disease. The study is published in the April, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.