Magnesium Intake, Insulin Resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes [Abstract]

[N A J Med Sci. 2013;6(1):9-15. DOI: 10.7156/najms.2013.0601009]

Yiqing Song, MD, ScD; Qi Dai, MD, PhD; Ka He, MD, MPH, ScD

Magnesium is one of essential minerals abundant in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Accumulating evidence suggests that adequate magnesium intake is important in maintaining glucose and insulin homeostasis and thereby in protecting against the development of type 2 diabetes. Observational evidence, primarily from cross-sectional studies, has shown that low dietary magnesium intake are inversely related to glucose intolerance and/or insulin resistance. Results from prospective studies of magnesium intake and risk of incident type 2 diabetes have been generally consistent; however, there are as yet no clinical trials examining the efficacy of magnesium supplementation or consumption of major magnesium-rich foods on the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes. The efficacy of oral magnesium supplementation as adjunct therapy in improving glycemic control among non-diabetic or diabetic patients has been suggested in some small randomized clinical trials.  In addition, recent evidence from human population data suggested that common variants of two genes (ion channel transient receptor potential membrane melastatin 6 and 7, TRPM6 and TRPM7) critical for magnesium homeostasis may confer a susceptibility to type 2 diabetes in individuals with inadequate magnesium intake, although further replication in large-scale studies is warranted. This presentation provides an overview of the current evidence linking magnesium intake to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes from observational studies to intervention trials.

Key Words: magnesium intake, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes


Yiqing Song, MD, ScD;1* Qi Dai, MD, PhD;2 Ka He, MD, MPH, ScD3
1 Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2 Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center,Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

*Corresponding Author: Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 900 Commonwealth Avenue East, Boston, MA 02215. (Email:



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