Magnesium plays a critical role in supporting numerous facets of health in metabolic conditions, including metabolic syndrome, lipid parameters, and diabetes. For instance, as a cofactor, magnesium is involved in the function of several enzymes related to glucose metabolism, and decreased serum magnesium levels have been identified as a risk factor for the development of prediabetes.12 Furthermore, based on recently published meta-analyses, there is convincing evidence that magnesium levels are lower in individuals with metabolic syndrome than controls.13 Studies also show that individuals with type 2 diabetes are at significant risk of magnesium deficiency and insufficiency.14
Several recently published systematic reviews highlight the benefits of magnesium for parameters related to cardiometabolic health. Luis Simental-Mendia from the Mexican Social Security Institute (Durango, Mexico) led a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of magnesium supplements on insulin sensitivity and glucose control.15 The analysis found that magnesium supplementation overall had a significant effect on reducing insulin resistance (as assessed by the common measure, HOMA-IR index)—although the review failed to show significant effects on plasma glucose levels, hemoglobin A1c, or fasting insulin.
When the authors performed a subgroup analysis comparing those studies with a duration of less than four months to those studies with a duration of greater than four months of supplementation, they observed a significant benefit in favor of the longer-duration studies on fasting glucose levels. These benefits were noted in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects, suggesting the beneficial effects of magnesium supplements for individuals with metabolic disorders.
A second review of randomized, double-blind trials conducted by the same group out of Durango, Mexico, looked at the effect of magnesium supplementation in metabolic syndrome.16 Of the 27 trials identified for inclusion in the analysis, 18 showed a benefit of magnesium supplementation on at least one parameter of metabolic syndrome. These included reductions in insulin resistance and fasting glucose, improvements in lipid parameters (including HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels), and support for blood pressure levels. Daily supplemental doses of magnesium over the spectrum of studies ranged between 300 and 600 mg/day. Of the remaining nine studies showing no benefits on any parameter of metabolic syndrome, seven were conducted in healthy individuals. Overall, the results of the analysis point to significant benefits associated with magnesium supplementation for metabolic syndrome.
Researchers from IKG Punjab Technical University (Kapurthala, India) recently conducted a meta-analysis to assess the effects of magnesium supplementation on type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular risk factors.17 They included randomized controlled trials published before June 30, 2016.
On the basis of their analysis, the authors concluded that magnesium supplementation significantly improved fasting blood glucose levels (average decrease of 6.4 mg/dL) in diabetic individuals. Furthermore, magnesium supplements raised HDL cholesterol levels (by an average of 3.2 mg/dL), reduced LDL cholesterol (by an average of -10.7 mg/dL), and reduced triglycerides (by an average of -15.3 mg/dL), while also reducing average systolic blood pressure readings by 3 mm Hg. Thus, magnesium supplementation benefits diabetics and reduces several risk factors for heart disease in this population.
Magnesium is a nutrient required by all cells and participates in a broad range of physiological processes. Since magnesium levels are often insufficient, ensuring an adequate intake is essential for the body to function as designed. From cardiovascular health and metabolic function to mental health—or any other number benefits magnesium is associated with—magnesium is the spark that makes the body go. Doing without this crucial element is like driving a car that isn’t firing on all cylinders. Without the spark, the fuel is useless.
- Rosanoff A et al., “Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated?” Nutrition Reviews, vol. 70, no. 3 (March 2012): 153-164
- Volpe SL, “Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health,” Advances in Nutrition, vol. 4, no. 3 (May 1, 2013): 378S–383S
- Tarleton EK et al., “Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: a randomized clinical trial,” PLoS One. Published online June 27, 2017.
- Rajizadeh A et al., “Effect of magnesium supplementation on depression status in depressed patients with magnesium deficiency: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,” Nutrition. Published online November 9, 2016.
- Serefko A et al., “Magnesium and depression,” Magnesium Research, vol. 29, no. 3 (March 1, 2016): 112-119
- Winther G et al., “Dietary magnesium deficiency alters gut microbiota and leads to depressive-like behaviour,” Acta Neuropsychiatrica, vol. 27, no. 3 (June 2015): 168-176
- Jørgensen BP et al., “Dietary magnesium deficiency affects gut microbiota and anxiety-like behaviour in C57BL/6N mice,” Acta Neuropsychiatrica, vol. 27, no. 5 (October 2015): 307–311
- Del Gobbo LC et al., “Circulating and dietary magnesium and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 98, no. 1 (July 2013): 160–173
- Joris PJ et al., “Long-term magnesium supplementation improves arterial stiffness in overweight and obese adults: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 103, no. 5 (May 2016): 1260–1266
- Vlachopoulos C et al., “Prediction of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality with arterial stiffness: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, vol. 55, no. 13 (March 30, 2010): 1318–1327
- Ter Braake AD et al., “Magnesium counteracts vascular calcification: passive interference or active modulation?” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, vol. 37, no. 8 (August 2017): 1431-1445
- Kieboom BCT et al., “Serum magnesium and the risk of prediabetes: a population-based cohort study,” Diabetologia, vol. 60, no. 5 (May 2017): 843-853
- La SA et al., “Low magnesium levels in adults with metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis,” Biological Trace Element Research, vol. 170, no. 1 (March 2016): 33-42
- Saproo N et al., “Emerging role of serum magnesium in diabetes mellitus,” World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 6, no. 3 (2017): 861-866
- Simental-Mendía LE et al., “A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control,” Pharmacological Research. Published online June 18, 2016.
- Guerrero-Romero F et al., “Magnesium in metabolic syndrome: a review based on randomized, double-blind clinical trials,” Magnesium Research, vol. 29, no. 4 (April 1, 2016): 146-153
- Verma H et al., “Effect of magnesium supplementation on type 2 diabetes associated cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Published online February 2, 2017.