White with low magnesium? – Watch out for diabetes



Serum magnesium is a cheap and really quite important test to ask your doctor about.

Given that so many Americans are overweight and at risk of disbetes, why not get this test and determine how serious you have to be in correcting diet in 2008?


Arch Intern Med. 1999 Oct 11;159(18):2151-9.

Serum and dietary magnesium and the risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

Kao WH, Folsom AR, Nieto FJ, Mo JP, Watson RL, Brancati FL.

Department of Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.

BACKGROUND: Experimental studies in animals and cross-sectional studies in humans have suggested that low serum magnesium levels might lead to type 2 diabetes; however, this association has not been examined prospectively. METHODS: We assessed the risk for type 2 diabetes associated with low serum magnesium level and low dietary magnesium intake in a cohort of nondiabetic middle-aged adults (N = 12,128) from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study during 6 years of follow-up. Fasting serum magnesium level, categorized into 6 levels, and dietary magnesium intake, categorized into quartiles, were measured at the baseline examination. Incident type 2 diabetes was defined by self-report of physician diagnosis, use of diabetic medication, fasting glucose level of at least 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL), or nonfasting glucose level of at least 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dL). RESULTS: Among white participants, a graded inverse relationship between serum magnesium levels and incident type 2 diabetes was observed. From the highest to the lowest serum magnesium levels, there was an approximate 2-fold increase in incidence rate (11.1, 12.2, 13.6, 12.8, 15.8, and 22.8 per 1000 person-years; P = .001). This graded association remained significant after simultaneous adjustment for potential confounders, including diuretic use. Compared with individuals with serum magnesium levels of 0.95 mmol/L (1.90 mEq/L) or greater, the adjusted relative odds of incident type 2 diabetes rose progressively across the following lower magnesium categories: 1.13 (95% CI, 0.79-1.61), 1.20 (95% CI, 0.86-1.68), 1.11 (95% CI, 0.80-1.56), 1.24 (95% CI, 0.86-1.78), and 1.76 (95% CI, 1.18-2.61) (for trend, P = .01). In contrast, little or no association was observed in black participants. No association was detected between dietary magnesium intake and the risk for incident type 2 diabetes in black or white participants.

CONCLUSIONS: Among white participants, low serum magnesium level is a strong, independent predictor of incident type 2 diabetes. That low dietary magnesium intake does not confer risk for type 2 diabetes implies that compartmentalization and renal handling of magnesium may be important in the relationship between low serum magnesium levels and the risk for type 2 diabetes.

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