Low Dietary Magnesium Increases Insulin Resistance

Three Pennsylvania researchers report a link between a low intake of magnesium and insulin resistance in a study of 179 young, nondiabetic black Americans. The investigators assessed nutrient intake via 24-hour recall and quantified nutrients and minerals using a nutrient analysis tool. The researchers then classified the subjects as insulin-sensitive or insulin-resistant, according to glucose tolerance measured during insulin clamp. Recall data showed that the average daily intake of magnesium among study subjects was 202 mg/day, considerably less than the recommended daily allowance of 410 milligrams per day for men and 315 for women. There was no significant association between blood pressure and magnesium intake in the study subjects, all of whom were either normal blood pressure or at most borderline hypertensive. The clinical onset of diabetes often precedes that of hypertension.

Am J Hypertens  August, 1999;12:747-756.

COMMENT: The insulin clamp tool is the most sophisticated method of determining insulin resistance. It is interesting to note that magnesium deficiency was associated with diabetes. Does that mean that supplementing diabetics with magnesium would be helpful? Probably. However, the deficiency is probably a marker for not enough vegetables. And vegetables, of course, are the source of magnesium. Chlorophyll is the equivalent of hemoglobin in animals. The major difference is that chlorophyll has magnesium rather than iron at the center of its porphoryn ring. The other major issue, of course, is grain. If one is not eating enough vegetables, it is highly likely that large amounts of grains are serving to fill the carbohydrate requirements. It is wonderful when the pieces of the puzzle fit together so consistently, and the research tends to support the low grain approach, if one only understands how to interpret the data.

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