About 75% of all Americans don’t get enough magnesium, with deficiency ranges for diabetics varying from 25 to 39% (1). Lack of magnesium in this group is important to note because it causes elevated glucose and insulin levels. Proper amounts of this mineral are essential for proper glucose balance and transport, as well as regulating energy production and releasing insulin—all necessary elements of carbohydrate metabolism. “When insulin is released from the pancreas, magnesium in the cell normally responds and opens the cell to allow entry of glucose, but in the case of magnesium deficiency combined with insulin resistance, the normal mechanisms just don’t work. However, the higher the levels of magnesium in the body, the greater the sensitivity of the cells to insulin and the possibility of reversing the problem,” says medical and naturopathic doctor Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (2).
According to Dean, low magnesium levels may even be a marker for diabetes, as it affects as many as 40% of diabetic patients. She cites three large studies (totaling 168,000 subjects) in which “people with the highest levels of the mineral magnesium in their diets have the lowest risk for developing diabetes,” and adds, “It’s important that this information be promoted more widely” (2).
Other vitamins and minerals such as vanadium, biotin and vitamin D help maintain normal blood sugar levels, too.
1. F. Murray, Natural Supplements for Diabetes (Basic Health Publications, Laguna Beach, CA, 2007).
2. C. Dean, The Magnesium Miracle (Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 2007).
Excerpted from Whole Foods Magazine – “Diabetes Nutrition and Your Shoppers” By Kaylynn-Chiarello Ebner
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2009