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Magnesium Intake Linked to Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

At a Glance: Magnesium is essential for all the cells in your body and is a co-factor of over 300 enzyme systems that control many natural reactions.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports a correlation between higher magnesium intake and a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes. Low magnesium intakes have previously been linked to insulin resistance and impaired glucose utilization.

Researchers evaluated data from 17,592 men and women aged 40 to 79 who took part in the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk established between 1988 and 1990. Dietary magnesium was calculated using a validated questionnaire, and incidence of diabetes was defined by self-report of physician diagnosis.

At the five year follow-up, 459 new cases of diabetes were reported. Dietary intake of magnesium was inversely associated with age, body mass index (BMI), and diabetes incidence in both sexes.

After making adjustments for cardiovascular risk factors, participants whose intake of magnesium was among the top 25 percent had a 36 percent lower adjusted risk of developing diabetes.

The incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in Asian countries, and this is the first study to examine the association between magnesium intake and the risk of diabetes in adults living in Japan. The results of this study are important for the development of potential health policies to help prevent and control this increasingly common degenerative disease.

Kirii K, Iso H, Date C, Fukui M, Tamakoshi A. Magnesium intake and risk of self-reported type 2 diabetes among Japanese. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010;29(2):99-106.

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