Magnesium and Type 2 Diabetes

For those living with diabetes, what we put into our bodies has a huge impact on our blood sugar levels and how difficult or easy it is to keep things in check.

One health nutrient that is vital for everyone, and of particular interest to those living with Type 2 diabetes is magnesium. We all need magnesium. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH), it’s recommended that adult females get between 320 mg and 360 mg of magnesium each day. For men, the number is higher with NIH recommending between 410 mg and 420 mg per day.

What Does Magnesium Do?

It does a lot! The mineral magnesium is a vital nutrient for the body’s health because it is essential to more than 300 enzymatic reactions that are involved in various processes, including synthesizing center nervous system neurotransmitters, and producing and releasing cellular energy.

The mineral also helps with important biological processes, such as regulating heartbeat, muscle contractions, and blood pressure. Studies have also shown that magnesium is important when it comes to carbohydrate metabolism and metabolic health, which brings us to the relationship between Type 2 diabetes and magnesium.

Diabetes and Magnesium Link

One of the areas of metabolic health that magnesium helps regulate is how well the body processes blood sugar and transforms it into the energy the body needs to function properly.

As we all know, Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin or, in many cases, process it properly due to what’s called “insulin resistance”, an inability for the cells to accept insulin and turn it into energy.

There is scientific research pointing to a strong correlation between magnesium deficiency and the presence of Type 2 diabetes. This is because low levels of magnesium are associated with an increase in insulin resistance. So, in effect, having too little magnesium in the bloodstream can further elevate blood sugar by increasing insulin resistance, thus contributing to the onset of Type 2 diabetes in individuals in the prediabetic stage, and making it harder to control blood sugar in those who have already been diagnosed with the disease.

For those with Type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia can also impact kidney function causing a person to urinate more often, thereby flushing more magnesium out of the system, and furthering the mineral deficiency. The more magnesium deficient a person becomes the likelier that person also becomes to experience related complications, including hypertension, slow healing wounds, retinopathy, and chronic kidney disease.

In other words, it’s somewhat of an unfortunate give and take. A lack of magnesium can make Type 2 diabetes more difficult to control by contributing to insulin resistance, while Type 2 diabetes itself can contribute to magnesium deficiency, thereby making the impact to the body and diabetes management even more dramatic.

Are there any symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?

Yes. A magnesium deficiency is often accompanied by an unexplained loss of appetite, nausea, muscle cramping, muscle spasms, hyperexcitability, shakiness, pins and needles, and general fatigue.

How is a magnesium deficiency diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely perform what’s called a “total serum magnesium blood test” to determine where your magnesium levels lie and whether they are too low.

Can people with type 2 diabetes avoid a magnesium deficiency?

While there’s no way to guarantee you won’t experience a magnesium deficiency at some point in your life, there are ways you can certainly minimize the risk.

Diet and Magnesium

Probably the best first step in avoiding or even correcting a magnesium deficiency is by watching what you eat. Many plant and animal foods are rich in magnesium, and a lot of these are diabetes healthy foods for diabetes. Some great choices include:

– Green, leafy vegetables like spinach

– Chia seeds

– Nuts, particularly almonds, cashews, and peanuts

– Peanut butter

– Black beans

– Tea

– Chicken breast

– Oatmeal

– Non-fat yogurt

– Avocados

– Even tap water and bottled water can be good sources of magnesium

Magnesium Supplements

If your doctor determines you are magnesium deficient, he or she may recommend magnesium supplements. The catch is there are so many different types on the market – magnesium glyceride, magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate, to name just a few. They have different absorption rates and different impacts on the body, and it can be confusing as to which type of magnesium supplement you should choose as someone with Type 2 diabetes. Speak with your doctor to determine if a magnesium supplement, and which type, might be beneficial for you.

Other Benefits of Proper Magnesium Levels

Maintaining proper magnesium levels isn’t just good for preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes. It’s also beneficial to your health in a number of other ways – some of which are related to Type 2 diabetes. Magnesium helps with the following:

  1. Decreases blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke – both elevated with Type 2 diabetes.
  1. Promotes healthy bones. High blood sugar can lead to reduced bone density.
  1. Reduces the frequency and severity for those suffering from migraine headaches.
  1. Decreases anxiety and depression, both of which are often heightened by the rigors of daily diabetes management.
  1. Reduces inflammation – another common condition associated with Type 2 diabetes.


While a magnesium deficiency is certainly not the most dangerous condition you might experience living with Type 2 diabetes, it’s one to take note of as it does more than increase insulin resistance and elevate blood sugar, it increases the likelihood of many diabetes-related complications. On the plus side, a magnesium deficiency is often easily remedied with dietary changes or supplements. If you think you might have a deficiency in magnesium, talk to your doctor about getting tested.


We hope you found this post informative and insightful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to helping those with diabetes manage blood sugar with a complete selection of testing and treatment supplies at prices up to 65% less than those found at most pharmacies and suppliers.

Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit