The Link Between Magnesium, Diabetes, and Heart Disease
Many of us have heard of the essential mineral magnesium but may not be aware that magnesium plays an important physiological role in many different bodily processes—with over 300 enzymes dependent on magnesium for proper functioning and regulation. Magnesium is a vital component of health, and many studies have found that magnesium deficiency can lead to a range of health problems. However, a recent study has shown that regular consumption of magnesium-rich foods can actually help prevent serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
The study, led by Dr. Xuexian Fang, a nutrition researcher at Zhengzhou University in China, analyzed data on dietary magnesium and chronic disease from 40 studies published from 1999 to 2016 on more than one million people across nine countries. Dr. Fang and his colleagues found that people who had the highest levels of magnesium in their diets were 10 percent less likely to develop heart disease, 12 percent less likely to have a stroke, and 26 percent less likely to develop diabetes compared with the participants who had the lowest levels of magnesium in their diets.
The researchers noted that their analysis was based on observational studies and can’t prove magnesium directly prevents disease, but the large sample size, lengthy study period time frame, and significant risk reductions make it difficult to refute that magnesium benefits are significant. Further, the extensive benefits of magnesium have been recognized in the health community by many separate studies and sources aside from this particular study focusing on heart disease and diabetes.
Benefits of Magnesium
Benefits of magnesium include increased energy, calmed nerves, relief of muscle aches and spasms, and more. In many cases, the benefits aren’t realized until symptoms of magnesium deficiency occur, such as muscle weakness, irritability, low blood pressure, and others. Sometimes, the symptoms of low magnesium can be directly related to heart health and diabetes, including irregular or rapid heartbeat and hyperglycemia.
Particularly for those at risk for various heart conditions as well as diabetics, food is often an important consideration for overall wellbeing. A ketogenic (keto) diet, high in fat and low in carbs, can theoretically change the way your body stores and utilizes energy, lessening diabetes symptoms. With the keto diet, the body converts fat, as an alternative to sugar, into energy and may enhance blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin. Conversely, the diet does come with risks, so discussing it with your healthcare provider before making drastic dietary changes is important.
Food Sources of Magnesium
Leafy greens like spinach and chard, fish like salmon, nuts like almonds, and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice are great sources of magnesium—many of the best foods for diabetics as well as those looking to maintain heart health are often naturally loaded with magnesium. Other great sources of magnesium include yogurt or kefir, avocados, figs, black beans, and pumpkin seeds. There are many sources to help determine what foods have magnesium to create a varied, healthy diet.
When it comes to magnesium supplementation, it may be best to consult with an expert, as there is the risk of “too much of a good thing.” Magnesium side effects may include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These side effects are most common when taking too high a magnesium dosage via magnesium supplements, such as the popular magnesium citrate (often used as a laxative), magnesium chloride (widely used for its detox properties), and a combination supplement of calcium and magnesium (known for promoting bone health).
Getting Back Into Balance
The new research specific to heart health and diabetes has very promising implications for those looking to take control of their health naturally, with a direct focus on diet and specifically the benefits of magnesium-rich foods. However, reaching an ideal balance of magnesium in the body can be difficult to do on your own. The expert physicians within the BodyLogicMD network can help with this and much more, including tapping into magnesium deficiency symptoms, which can have widespread effects on so many areas of the body.
The expert physicians within the BodyLogicMD network can not only provide customized diets and supplement regimens to optimize magnesium absorption and intake, they can also check hormone levels, which can have a significant impact on heart health and diabetes. For example, optimal testosterone levels lead to a lower risk of diabetes in men and optimal estrogen levels lead to a lower risk of diabetes in women. An expert-guided approach to comprehensive health, which includes customized nutrition, supplement, and exercise programs, can often provide the safest, most effective way to prevent and manage health conditions related to the heart and diabetes.
Contact the BodyLogicMD-affiliated physician nearest you today to schedule an appointment and find out how to naturally support healthy levels of this commonly deficient essential mineral and achieve a healthy balance.