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More Magnesium Links to Lower Insulin Levels

spinachOur body cannot produce magnesium but the mineral is essential for good health. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that diets higher in magnesium are associated with lower blood levels of glucose and insulin, which are often elevated in people with type 2 diabetes.

And people with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of certain cancers, including kidney, pancreatic and colorectal.

Study researchers analyzed data from approximately 53,000 non-diabetic European men and women from 15 studies who were part of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) study.

The participants were genetically tested for 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), a type of change where one letter – or nucleotide – in the DNA sequence differs. The SNPs had been previously associated with glucose, insulin or magnesium metabolism.

Investigators found that every increase of 50 milligrams per day of magnesium intake was associated with decreasing levels of both fasting glucose (-0.009 mmol/L) and fasting insulin (-0.020 ln-pmol/L). This inverse relationship stayed true even after taking into account lifestyle factors such as age, gender, alcohol, calorie intake, BMI, smoking status, education, and physical activity.

Spinach, almonds and soybeans are a few of the foods high in magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach, for example, contains about 150 milligrams of magnesium and 1 slice of whole-wheat bread has approximately 30 milligrams of magnesium.

The study did not see any significant effects between the genes studied and fasting glucose or insulin, suggesting that magnesium’s beneficial lowering effects on glucose and insulin may work independently of genetics, or as least the SNPs looked at in this study.

Source: Source: Adela Hruby et al. “Higher Magnesium Intake Is Associated with Lower Fasting Glucose and Insulin, with No Evidence of Interaction with Select Genetic Loci, in a Meta-Analysis of 15 CHARGE Consortium Studies.” J. Nutr. March 1, 2013 vol. 143 no. 3 345-353.

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