Magnesium1 is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body,2,3 and deficiency can contribute to significant health problems. Two common pathologies associated with magnesium deficiency are Type 2 diabetes4,5 and heart disease.
According to one scientific review,6 low magnesium may actually be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and other recent research7 published in Open Heart journal suggests even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.
As noted in a 2018 scientific review8,9 published in Open Heart journal, a “vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency” due to “chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and the availability of refined and processed foods.”
According to this review, most fail to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium; 48% of Americans do not get sufficient magnesium from their diet. Among postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, the rate of magnesium deficiency is 84%.10
Type 2 diabetics also tend to be more prone to magnesium deficiency, and magnesium depletion has been found in 75% of patients with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes, the review states.11
Magnesium Protects Your Heart Health
Low magnesium has been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure,12 stroke13 and sudden cardiac death.14 According to the Open Heart study authors,15 “most people need an additional 300 mg of magnesium per day in order to lower their risk of developing numerous chronic diseases,” and this includes heart disease and diabetes. Magnesium supports healthy heart function and helps prevent heart disease by:16
- Combating inflammation, thereby helping prevent hardening of your arteries
- Normalizing blood pressure
- Improving blood flow by relaxing your arteries and preventing your blood from thickening, allowing it to flow more smoothly
Magnesium Status Impacts Diabetes and Blood Pressure
Magnesium also plays an important role in diabetes, and this is not nearly as recognized as it needs to be. Low magnesium levels have been linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes,17 as it impairs your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, which is important for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.18,19,20,21
In one study,22 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71%, compared to those with the lowest intake. High levels of insulin in the blood, common with insulin resistance, also lead to further loss of magnesium.23
Most recently, a study24 published in October 2019 in the online issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice again linked low magnesium levels with both diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. As reported by the authors:25
“Across the quartiles of serum magnesium from high to low, the prevalence ratios for diabetes were 1.00, 1.35, 1.88, and 2.70, respectively. The presence of hypertension significantly increased the probability of diabetes along a wide range of low serum magnesium. A low intake of MRDP [magnesium related dietary pattern] was also positively associated with diabetes and high HbA1c.”