Diabetes and Diet: Can Magnesium Supplements Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes?

Whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, and beans. All are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and all are rich in magnesium.

What’s more, people who get more magnesium from food have lower insulin levels and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.


Magnesium looks promising,” says JoAnn Manson, director of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “And it’s one of the few minerals that have been tested in randomized trials.”

For example, when German researchers randomly assigned 32 overweight people with insulin resistance to take either magnesium (365 milligrams a day) or a placebo for six months, fasting blood sugar dropped and insulin sensitivity improved in the magnesium takers. (Note: more than 350 mg of magnesium from a supplement may cause diarrhea and stomach cramps.)

“The smaller randomized trials suggest benefits for glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity,” says Manson. “It’s possible that taking a magnesium supplement could reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, but larger randomized trials are needed to prove it.”

Sources: Diabetes Care 34: 2116, 2011; Diab. Obes. Metab. 13: 281, 2011.

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2 Replies to “Diabetes and Diet: Can Magnesium Supplements Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes?”

  1. This amt of magnesium you reccomend concerns me as the manufacturer of the one I am taking is 600mg ea and the directions are to take 2/ day so that means I am consuming 1200 mg of magnesium/dy! I have for 3 wks now. And have had almost diarrhea. The next closet thing to it! How could this manufacturer be so off with the dosage?

    1. From Nutrition Action Healthletter: The two-tablet daily dosage of this supplement you’re taking contains a total of 600 mg of magnesium, not 1200 mg, but this shows how confusing labels can be.

      In any case, 600 mg is well above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for supplemental magnesium of 350 mg a day set by the Institute of Medicine. This is the highest intake level that’s not associated with reports of problems, which for magnesium is diarrhea.

      From what we can see on the manufacturer’s website, there’s no mention of this. Maybe companies should be required to put a caution on their labels when they recommend more than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level.

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