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What Magnesium Can Do For Prediabetes

magnesium and prediabetes

Many people do not meet the daily requirement for magnesium, and this may present significant health challenges for many individuals unless it is corrected. A new study, for example, found that taking an oral magnesium supplement can have a positive impact on adults who have prediabetes and low magnesium levels.


Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal (with normal being less than 100 mg/dL) but less than the figure designated as having diabetes (126 mg/dL). Thus, individuals with a fasting blood sugar value of 100 to 125 mg/dL are considered to be prediabetic.

Without intervention, people with prediabetes typically progress to type 2 diabetes within 10 years and can be experiencing some of the damage associated with the disease as well. However, those who take lifestyle changes (e.g., regular exercise, attention to diet, maintaining healthy weight, stress control) have a chance to avoid type 2 diabetes.

Supplementation with magnesium may be one such intervention. In this double-blind study, 116 men and women (ages 30-65) who had hypomagnesemia and had been newly diagnosed with prediabetes were randomly assigned to receive either 382 mg of magnesium daily or a placebo once daily for four months. (Note: The RDA for magnesium is 310-320 mg for women and 400-420 mg for men.)

At the end of follow-up:

  • Glucose status (both fasting and post-load) and triglycerides were significantly lower in the individuals who took magnesium when compared with controls
  • Good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL) and serum magnesium levels were significantly higher in those taking the supplement when compared with controls
  • Overall, 50.8 percent of those taking magnesium and 7.0 percent of controls showed an improvement in their glucose status

The authors concluded that use of oral magnesium supplements improves glycemic status in individuals with prediabetes and low magnesium levels. This finding may be of importance for individuals and healthcare professionals to help reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

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Previous prediabetes and magnesium study
In a 2014 study published in Diabetes Care, researchers examined the impact of magnesium on glucose and insulin metabolism and the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes in middle-aged adults. A total of 2,582 adults (aged 26-81 years) participated in the seven-year study.

At baseline, the authors gathered information on magnesium intake and risk of metabolic impairment (e.g., impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia) among those who showed normal values, and the risk of diabetes among those who presented with metabolic impairment.

After the authors adjusted for age, sex, and caloric intake, they compared lowest with highest magnesium intake and found that:

  • Among individuals with normal values at baseline, those with the highest magnesium intake had 37 percent lower risk of metabolic impairment
  • Among those with baseline metabolic impairment, higher magnesium intake was associated with a 32 percent lower risk of diabetes
  • When combining these two groups, the risk among individuals who had the highest magnesium intake was 53 percent of those with the lowest intake

Overall, the authors concluded that “magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting risk of developing diabetes among those at high risk.”

Bottom line
Magnesium is associated with more than 300 biochemical processes in the human body, and among them are blood sugar management. Everyone should ensure they get sufficient magnesium in their diet and/or with supplementation, especially those with prediabetes and low magnesium levels. A simple blood test can determine serum magnesium levels.


Guerrero-Romero F et al. Oral magnesium supplementation improves glycaemic status in subjects with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia: a double-blind placebo=controlled randomized trial. Diabetes & Metabolism 2015 Jun; 41(3): 202-7
Hruby A et al. Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and progression from prediabetes to diabetes in middle-aged americans. Diabetes Care 2014 Feb; 37(2): 419-27