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Can magnesium supplementation reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors in people with diabetes?

Observational, mechanistic, and animal evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency could raise the risk of CVD and diabetes. Could supplementation help?

Study under review: Effect of magnesium supplementation on type 2 diabetes associated cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and metaanalysis.

Introduction

Diabetes has rapidly become one the most prevalent preventable diseases worldwide. It substantially increases[1] a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved[2] with the function of over 300 enzymes, including those involved in glucose metabolism and insulin signaling and function. Since magnesium plays a role in so many metabolic processes, it’s quite possible that deficiency could impact both type 2 diabetes and CVD. The potential extent of magnesium’s effects on CVD and diabetes is laid out in Figure 1.

There’s more evidence for magnesium’s potential impact in these areas beyond arguments from mechanism, though. Observational studies have found associations between developing type 2 diabetes and having low serum magnesium[3] or low dietary intake[4], and experimental trials[5][6] in animals have suggested that consuming magnesium-deficient diets causes insulin resistance. A meta-analysis[7] of 40 observational studies and over one million people reported that increased dietary magnesium intake was associated with significant reductions in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and stroke, and a near-significant reduction in developing heart disease. Due to the relationship between diabetes, magnesium intake, and CVD, numerous randomized controlled trials have investigated whether magnesium supplementation can reduce CVD risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.

Two previous meta-analyses have investigated the effects of magnesium supplementation on glycemic control[8][9] in people with type 2 diabetes. However, one of these meta-analyses did not look at magnesium’s effect on other CVD risk factors, while the long-term effects of supplementation in the other were uncertain. The study under review sought to fill this gap in the research by performing a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of magnesium supplementation on CVD risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes.

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Magnesium levels are lower in people with type 2 diabetes and it has been hypothesized that supplementing with magnesium may help lower these cardiovascular risk factors. The study under review is a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of magnesium supplementation on CVD risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.

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