Out of two studies, one shows a significant decrease in HbA1C, while the other failed to show a decrease in HbA1C with magnesium. (HbA1C is a form of hemoglobin that reflects the average blood glucose levels over the past 90 days.)
In one study, 63 type 2 diabetic subjects with reduced blood magnesium levels were randomly assigned to receive magnesium chloride solution or placebo daily for 16 weeks.). It found that magnesium lowered HBA1C from 11.5% to 8.0% vs. placebo’s 11.8% to 10.1%. Also, magnesium supplements lowered fasting blood glucose from 12.8 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) to 8.0 mmol/L.
In another study, nine type 2 diabetic patients were given 300 milligrams of magnesium for 30 days. There were four main results here: 1) Magnesium lowered fasting insulin levels as well as insulin resistance — but failed to lower the fasting blood glucose; 2) Magnesium lowered triglycerides levels from 255 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) to 179 mg/dL, but had no effect on total cholesterol; 3) Magnesium lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressures; 4) Magnesium did not lower HbA1C levels, though five patients showed a tendency to experience a decrease.
Now, one big meta-analysis of nine good-quality studies consolidated the information on 370 type 2 diabetic patients who got a dose of 360 mg of magnesium a day for one to four months. Its results:
— Fasting glucose was significantly lowered– There was no significant change in HbA1C or in blood pressure
— HDL (“good”) cholesterol rose 0.08 mmol/L, but there were no changes in total or LDL (“bad”) cholesterol or triglycerides.
As for dosage, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for magnesium differs with age and gender: men 19-30 should get 400 mg a day; men over 31 need 420 mg; women 19-30 need 310 mg; and women over 31 need 320 mg.
When used as therapy, magnesium for type 2 diabetes exceeds the above recommendations and therefore may not be safe if taken for a long time. Common adverse effects include a chalky taste, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
The following foods are rich in magnesium and would be a good idea for diabetics to consume more of: meats; seafood, especially oysters; dark green vegetables; whole grains; legumes; and nuts.
Here are the previous articles in this series: