3 simple ways to tell if you’re deficient in magnesium (and foods you need to eat!)

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Low Magnesium May Play Key Role in Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

  • Magnesium plays a key role in preventing insulin dysregulation and type 2 diabetes, according to several recent studies—yet 80 percent of Americans are likely magnesium deficient
  • One study found those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk of metabolic problems by 71 percent
  • Another study concluded magnesium is highly protective for those at high risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Inadequate magnesium intake creates a vicious cycle of low magnesium levels in your body, elevated insulin and blood glucose levels, and excess loss of magnesium in your urine
  • The best source of magnesium is whole, organic foods, especially dark green leafy vegetables; other good sources include seaweed, dried pumpkin seeds, unsweetened cocoa, flaxseed, almond butter, and whey
  • Of the many forms of magnesium supplements available today, a newer form called magnesium threonate shows particular promise due to its ability to penetrate cell membranes, even those in your brain

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. If you don’t have enough of it, your body simply cannot function at its best. Insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for the deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems.

As reported by GreenMedInfo, a researcher has now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, reflecting how important this mineral is to a great many biological processes.

For example, magnesium plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and therefore is important for minimizing damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins.

Even glutathione, considered by many to be your body’s most powerful antioxidant, requires magnesium in order to be produced.

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Magnesium also plays roles in preventing migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes), sudden cardiac death, and even reduces death from all causes.

This important mineral is required by more than 300 different enzymes in your body, which play important roles in the following biochemical processes, many of which are crucial for a proper metabolic function:

Creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy molecules of your body Proper formation of bones and teeth Relaxation of blood vessels
The action of your heart muscle Promotion of proper bowel function Regulation of blood sugar levels

Low Magnesium Levels Consistently Found in Those with Elevated Insulin

In just the past year, there have been several significant studies about magnesium’s role in keeping your metabolism running like a well-oiled clock—specifically in terms of insulin sensitivity, glucose regulation, and protection from type 2 diabetes. Here are just a few:

  • One 2013 study involving pre-diabetics found that most had inadequate magnesium intake. Those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by a whopping 71 percent.
  • An ADA study from October 2013 found that higher magnesium intake reduces the risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes in middle-aged Americans. Researchers stated, “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes if you are high risk.”
  • In a large Japanese study (the Hisayama Study) published in Diabetic Medicine December 2013, researchers found magnesium intake was a significant protective factor against type 2 diabetes in the general Japanese population, especially among those “with insulin resistance, low-grade inflammation, and a drinking habit.”
  • And in the Framingham Offspring cohort (2006), higher magnesium intake improved insulin sensitivity and reduced type 2 diabetes risk.

Why Is Magnesium So Critical for Proper Metabolic Function?

The mechanism by which magnesium controls glucose and insulin homeostasis appears to involve two genes responsible for magnesium homeostasis. Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors.

It is well known that people with insulin resistance also experience increased excretion of magnesium in their urine, which further contributes to diminished magnesium levels. This magnesium loss appears to be secondary to increased urinary glucose, which increases urinary output.

Therefore, inadequate magnesium intake seems to prompt a vicious cycle of low magnesium levels, elevated insulin and glucose levels, and excess magnesium excretion. In other words, the less magnesium your body has, the less it appears to be able to “hang onto it.

Rarely do so many studies from around the world find universal agreement on a subject! The evidence is clear: if you want to optimize your metabolism and keep your risk for type 2 diabetes low, one of the things you need to do is consume adequate magnesium. Unfortunately, this is not the norm, as an estimated 80 percent of Americans are magnesium deficient.

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