Updated 27 February 2017

Magnesium may lower type 2 diabetes risk

Magnesium contributes to the body's overall health including the maintenance of bones and teeth, normal muscle function, normal psychological function, tissue formation and a host of other functions.


A recent study has revealed that sufficient magnesium intake may help prevent the onset of pre-diabetes conditions such as hypertension and high blood sugar and possibly help avoid the disease itself.

Less risk of diabetes

The study was conducted by Tufts University in Massachusetts, US, on 2582 participants over seven years and found 37% who had a high intake of magnesium had less risk of developing diabetes, while 32% who already had the precursor conditions were less likely to develop diabetes.

Magnesium contributes to the body's overall health, including the maintenance of bones and teeth, normal muscle function, normal psychological function, tissue formation and a host of other functions, according to the SA Medicines Control Council's health supplement guidelines endorsed by the Department of Health.

Read: Your complete guide to magnesium

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 75% of US citizens are magnesium deficient and in SA the average magnesium intake is almost 40% below the recommended daily allowance.

Pharmacist, Giulia Criscuolo recommends the following to help stabilise blood sugar levels:

1. Eat low GI foods. They help release energy slowly and help one feel fuller, longer.
2. Eat breakfast and smaller, healthy meals more frequently to help stabilise blood sugar levels.
3. Get at least eight hours of sleep a night as sleep deprivation may impact negatively on blood sugar and insulin levels.
4. Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates as they cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
5. Reduce intake of stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as they also cause a spike in blood sugar.
6. Exercise. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
7. Increase your magnesium (and cinnamon) intake: Foods like spinach, nuts, leafy greens, avocados and fish, are high in magnesium.

Nutritional food supplement

Try nutritional food supplement Diabecinn Extra which contains a water-based cinnamon extract (ZN112), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, E, selenium, zinc and magnesium which may help lower the risk of diabetes.

Read: A finger-stick free future for diabetics?

It assists non-insulin-dependent diabetics reduce high blood sugar levels by up to 29%. Available at Dis-Chem, Clicks and all major pharmacies.

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Image: Magnesium supplements from Shutterstock


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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