Magnesium is one of those “big players” when it comes to maintaining good health. It’s required for 300 biochemical reactions in your body, including its incredible ability to stop calcium from entering places where it would cause harm, such as the cells of your heart and muscles. For this reason, it is known as “nature’s calcium channel blocker.”
The mineral is also essential for the production of something called “adenosine triphosphate”, or ATP. ATP is your body’s primary energy-producing molecule. It helps your muscles to function properly.
Magnesium deficiency is relatively common in North America, due to either losing too much in your urine, poor absorption, or not getting enough in your diet. Some traits of a deficiency include low levels of calcium and potassium, confusion, disorientation, loss of appetite, depression, muscle cramps, fatigue, personality change, and tingling or numbness.
Want another reason why you should make sure to boost your dietary intake of magnesium? Take a look at the results from a recent clinical trial conducted at the University of North Carolina. Researchers there discovered that people who consumed the most magnesium were less likely to get diabetes.
The research team looked at magnesium intake and diabetes risk in 4,497 men and women 18 to 30 years old. None of the study participants were diabetic at the study’s outset. During a 20-year follow-up period, 330 of the participants developed diabetes.
The researchers found that people with the highest magnesium intake, who averaged about 200 milligrams of magnesium for every 1,000 calories they consumed, were 47% less likely to have developed diabetes during follow-up than those with the lowest intakes.
The research team also found that, as magnesium intake rose, levels of several markers of inflammation decreased. And, surprisingly, higher blood levels of magnesium also were linked to a lower degree of insulin resistance.
The results may help to explain, the researchers say, why consuming whole grains, which are high in magnesium, is also associated with lower diabetes risk. When looking for the reason why magnesium might be implicated in better insulin regulation, the researchers suggest that the mineral is needed for the proper functioning of several enzymes that help the body process glucose.
The research team concluded that increasing magnesium intake may be important for improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, and decreasing diabetes risk. They would like further large-scale clinical trials to be conducted to investigate the link between diabetes and magnesium intake, as well as the potential benefits magnesium supplementation could offer.