I just learned something new!

By MAYS Latest Reply 2013-04-02 21:35:11 -0500
Started 2013-03-29 03:07:05 -0500

After being hospitalized for a few days by my doctor for chest pains, (during which time I was given a "Magnesium Drip" for having low a magnesium blood level) my curiosity level peaked concerning the relationship between diabetes and low magnesium levels.

Upon returning home and doing some research this is what I have found out:

It is hard to find a metabolic action that does not require it. Without it hundreds of enzymes will not work properly. It is needed for the manufacture of protein, the formation of bone, the production of new cells, the making of ATP, the clotting of blood etc, etc.

What is important to us diabetics, both Type 1 and 2, is the fact that it also plays a major role in blood sugar regulation - a lack of Mg affects the pancreas's insulin secretion ability and also increases insulin resistance in the tissues.

An interesting aside here - I have heard that Metformin, one of the most common drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes, raises magnesium levels in the liver, and yet another oral diabetic drug, Pioglitazone, increases the concentration of Mg in adipocytes (fat cells). This does tend to lend some credence to the advantages Mg has in treating diabetes.

People with diabetes tend to have lower magnesium levels, especially if the disease is not well controlled or has been uncontrolled for a long period of time.
It is thought that when the blood glucose levels go very high the kidneys lose their ability to retain magnesium, leading to excess excretion of magnesium in the urine (and we all know how often we had to visit the 'little room' prior to diagnosis and even now in some cases!).

The loss of magnesium in this way leads to low levels in the blood, called hypomagnesemia - not a word you can say after a few drinks!

Also insulin resistance decreases the cellular uptake of magnesium and therefor the intercellular levels become too low.


Magnesium: What is it?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant.

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Dietary magnesium is absorbed in the small intestines. Magnesium is excreted through the kidneys.


The NIH says, “Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body… [It] is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.” And according to our own Amy Campbell, “Results from three very large studies indicate that people who consume a diet rich in magnesium have a lower risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.”

People with diabetes are more likely than those without to be low in magnesium. According to an article on About.com, “Elevated blood glucose levels increase the loss of magnesium in the urine, which in turn lowers blood levels of magnesium.” So getting enough magnesium is especially important in diabetes.

In spite of these benefits, medical authorities rarely recommend magnesium. That’s why I call it the forgotten mineral. For instance, people on diuretics (“water pills”) are usually given potassium supplements to replace the potassium lost through urination. But magnesium is lost the same way and rarely supplemented.


That old saying is true, "You are never too old to learn something new".

24 replies

Nana_anna 2013-04-02 13:00:49 -0500 Report

Glad your okay. I had low potassium when I was in the hospital. I had to drink it lol! It was nasty. Thanks for the info.

jayabee52 2013-04-02 21:35:11 -0500 Report

My Jem said she had to take Potassium (K) supplements and agreed with you It was way nasty! She then started to eat more foods high in K, even if they raised her BG level.

You can find a chart of foods & drinks having high, medium and low amounts of K. I need to print it out for myself because I need to avoid K in my menu. Find the chart here ~ http://www.drugs.com/cg/potassium-content-of-...

Nick1962 2013-04-01 15:40:57 -0500 Report

You're not the only one who just learned something new. Sorry my eduaction came at your expense, but glad you're back to share it!

jigsaw 2013-04-01 14:43:20 -0500 Report

Another reason to have blood tests (full panel) from time to time! Very informative, thankyou Mays.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 13:52:31 -0500 Report

Hi Mays glad you are back and doing better. Thanks for sharing this information I learned something new. Research is important when it comes to educating ourselves. People would learn more about diabetes if they would simply do some research.

roxiekb 2013-04-01 18:04:12 -0500 Report

I agree. Education and knowledge are great thing with diabetes. Can't believe when I talk of certain products that can help, that people that have been diabetic longer than me know nothing about. Simple things about watching carbs to loose weight and glucerna drinks. It's amazing.

tahoeTed 2013-03-31 22:00:42 -0500 Report

Sometimes a little research on your own is best and sometimes you stumble onto something out of a little luck. Over the last year or so most people I know are now on vitamin D suppliments, coincidently most are to some degree diabetic. For years I got the "winter blues" and since being diagnosed my A1cs are terrible in the winter months. In december the A1c was 10.2, very high but not unusual. Been on anti-depressants for years and have deemed them useless. Put things together and decided to do some research. Now on 5000 iu of D plus some magnesium every day. If I could have absolute control of carb intake I wouldn't need insulin at all, only take as needed now and my A1c last month was 6.9 and haven't had a "blue" day either! Can't wait till next doc visit in 2 months

GrammieMags 2013-03-30 19:59:01 -0500 Report

I take calcium tablets. They contain 33% of calcium, 33% magnesium, 25% of zinc, and 50 % of vitamin D (for a 2000 calorie diet). I also use almond milk at night, with a blip of magnesium and zinc.

Although I was getting almost 100% of calcium with the pills and milk, my nails were still not healthy. I started taking the calcium pill when I have the almond milk. The nails are better. It's nice to know that the rest of me is better too!

Now a good reason to take the pill regularly, and to keep it stocked.

jayabee52 2013-03-29 12:36:15 -0500 Report

Howdy Mays sorry to hear of your difficulty! When I didn't see you posting here for a while I thought something was up. I was wrong - your Mg was down!

When I was with my late wife "Jem" she had low Mg levels and needed to suppliment it. I remember going online and buying different formulations of Mg to assist her in doing this. She was so low in Mg she needed to megadose on those suppliments.

Eventually it got to the point where she developed "dumping syndrome" where she would take her Mg and about 20 min later she'd have to dash to the commode and dump the contents of her GI tract. I even saw undigested pills coming through, sometimes.

Eventually we had to take her to the infusion clinic to have her take an IV of Mg, which didn't affect her GI tract like Mg taken orally.

Yes I learn something new almost every day here!


1rahrbunny 2013-03-29 08:25:35 -0500 Report

You can supplement your magnesium with epson salt baths( magnesium sulfate). Made a big difference to me.

tabby9146 2013-04-02 09:39:43 -0500 Report

I might do this, thanks for posting this, because I am on Nexium and there are new warnings about the dangers of low magnesium for many people on it, but I hve only been taking it less than 2 months now they won't let me stay on it very long but some have had serious side effects in as little as 3 months on it

MewElla 2013-03-29 06:58:47 -0500 Report

So glad you are back home and so appreciate all this information on magnesium as I really did not know much about this. Take care, my friend!

Tony5657 2013-03-29 06:24:24 -0500 Report

Hey Mays,

Thanks for the article & the links. You're learning & I can see those colored gears turning in your profile picture! LOL Seriously there are many, many things we can and should learn regarding diabetes and other health issues. I like your statement "You're never too old to learn something new." I'll add "And when you learn something new, store it where you can retrieve it when you need it." I am doing my best to keep my computer files organized so I can easily find & review what I've learned. I still have problems like - "I know I have that special wrench, now where is that blasted thing?" :o)

The following may have been addressed in one or more of the links you supplied but I didn't see it. Dr. Ripich, ND, CNP, recommends chelated magnesium, meaning magnesium with an amino acid chelate. He mentions 3 amino acid chelates - aspartate, malate or glycinate. I'm taking "Chelated Magnesium" 400 mg, (as magnesium glycinate amino acid chelate). That is copied from the label.

Dr. Ripich says "These amino acids help the body process the magnesium without stomach distress." He also said if you are getting loose stools, then you're taking too much magnesium.

Have you come across the combination of magnesium with an amino acid chelate? If so, I'd be very interested in what you learned.

Thanks again for posting this very informative article & links.

Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX

Set apart
Set apart 2013-03-29 05:42:40 -0500 Report

Glad you're back have missed having you around. This is interesting, do they usually check magnesium levels as, in blood work. I don't recall hearing anything in my results.

raccoon mana
raccoon mana 2013-03-29 04:12:38 -0500 Report

brazil nuts are high in magnesium. my nuerologist reccommends eating 5 brazil nuts a day as tmagnesiim helps in the reduction of migraine occursnces too.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-03-29 03:38:16 -0500 Report

Glad you escaped after a short visit.
It is amazing how one thing out of whack throws of so many of our systems.
Calcium, potassium, iron, vitamins d and some of the bs I see in the med carts at work. But I don't remember seeing any prescriptions for magnesium, now you mention it.