Magnesium found to help reduce insulin resistance in people with Type 2 diabetes
03/16/2021 // Divina Ramirez // Views

Magnesium supplementation significantly reduces insulin resistance and improves glycemic response in Type 2 diabetes patients, according to a study recently published in Nutrients.

In particular, it showed that Type 2 diabetes patients who took 250 milligrams (mg) of magnesium every day for three months experienced significant improvements in their insulin levels, as well as in other markers for assessing glycemic control.

Overall, the study's findings support magnesium supplementation as a promising strategy for preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium supplementation improves insulin resistance

Magnesium participates directly in glucose metabolism disorders like Type 2 diabetes. To examine the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic control among diabetics, researchers from Al-Azhar University-Gaza in Palestine studied 42 patients aged 35–60 years who were newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

The participants were first stratified based on age, sex, fasting blood sugar and magnesium levels before they were randomly allocated into two groups. Both groups ate a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains throughout the intervention period.

The researchers also measured biochemical parameters at baseline and after the intervention. These include fasting blood sugar, serum magnesium, hemoglobin A1c and fasting C-peptide and insulin levels. Patients in the intervention group took one 250-mg tablet of elemental magnesium every day for three months.


The results of the experiment showed that patients in the intervention group exhibited significant reductions in their plasma levels of hemoglobin A1c, which indicates the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin, and in their insulin levels. The patients also showed marked reductions in their fasting blood sugar and C-peptide levels, which indicate how much insulin is being produced.

Taken together, the results indicate that magnesium supplementation not only reduces insulin resistance but also improves markers of glycemic control among Type 2 diabetes patients.

High dietary magnesium intake linked to reduced insulin resistance

In 2013, a team of Canadian researchers from the Memorial University of Newfoundland also looked into the effects of magnesium on insulin resistance. They studied 2,330 participants from Canada who were part of the ongoing Complex Diseases in the Newfoundland Population: Environment and Genetics (CODING) Study.

The participants, who were aged 19 years and above, were all healthy and without any serious chronic diseases. The researchers assessed participants' dietary intake patterns using food frequency questionnaires. Responses were then fed into a program that calculated the total daily intake of magnesium for each participant.

The results showed that participants who were overweight or obese had the highest levels of insulin. They also had the lowest levels of magnesium intake per day and of magnesium per kilogram of body weight. Meanwhile, participants with the highest magnesium intake had the lowest levels of insulin.

Overall, the results indicate that dietary magnesium intake and insulin resistance are inversely correlated. The results also suggest that high dietary magnesium intake is especially beneficial for those that are overweight or obese. (Related: Discovering the anti-obesity potential of quercetin.)

Best dietary sources of magnesium

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should aim to get 310–420 mg of magnesium every day from their diet.

Fortunately, significant amounts of magnesium can be found in a wide range of nutritious foods. Listed below are the best sources of magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds, roasted – 156 mg per one-ounce serving
  • Chia seeds – 111 mg per one-ounce serving
  • Almonds, roasted – 80 mg per one-ounce serving
  • Spinach, boiled – 78 mg per 1/2-cup serving
  • Cashews, roasted – 74 mg per one-ounce serving
  • Peanuts, roasted – 63 mg per 1/4-cup serving
  • Black beans, cooked – 60 mg per 1/2-cup serving
  • Edamame, shelled, cooked – 50 mg per 1/2-cup serving
  • Potato, baked with skin – 43 mg per 3.5 ounces
  • Brown rice, cooked – 42 mg per 1/2-cup serving
  • Yogurt – 42 mg per 8-ounce serving
  • Banana – 32 mg per piece
  • Salmon, cooked – 26 mg per 6-ounce serving
  • Avocado – 22 mg per 1/2-cup serving
  • Chicken breast, roasted – 22 mg per 3-ounce serving

Magnesium is essential for Type 2 diabetes prevention. To avoid magnesium deficiency and reduce the risk of diabetes, eat foods rich in magnesium as part of a balanced diet.

Learn more about the health benefits of essential minerals like magnesium at

Sources include:

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