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A Potential New Type 2 Diabetes Indicator

Serum magnesium level could be used to indicate the duration and control of T2DM patients…

Low levels of magnesium have been associated with diabetes mellitus. Magnesium plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and insulin action: it is a cofactor used in transporting glucose across cellular membrane and for enzymes involved in carbohydrate oxidation, and aids in insulin release. The mechanism of low magnesium in the diabetic population is unknown, but several previous studies have shown a link between control of T2DM and unbalanced magnesium level.

Researchers from the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Pondicherry, India, studied whether any correlation existed between serum magnesium levels and the duration and control of T2DM patients. A total of 50 T2DM patients were included in the study and the duration of their disease was obtained; samples of blood were collected for analysis of fasting blood sugar (FBS), postprandial blood sugar (PPBG), HbA1c, and serum magnesium. They were then grouped into 3 categories based on their HbA1c: Group 1 –good control (7-8%), Group 2 –need intervention (8.1-9%), and Group 3-poor control (>9%). ANOVA was used to compare the 3 groups based on 3 parameters: mean FBS, PPBS, and serum magnesium. Post hoc ANOVA tests were then used on significant factors; correlation and regression analysis were used to quantify the relationship of serum magnesium levels with FBG, PPBS, and HbA1c, and heterogeneity chi-square test was later used to ascertain the association. P-value <0.05 was deem to be statically significant.

Mean FBG, PPBS, and serum magnesium levels were calculated to be:


The mean values of the each parameter were statistically significant among the three categorized groups. The analysis showed that serum magnesium levels decline with increasing level of HbA1c and with increasing duration of T2DM.

This study showed a possible correlation between magnesium levels and the control and duration of T2DM, and suggest that magnesium levels could be used as an indicator of a T2DM patient’s status since it is more sensitive and economical compared to using HbA1c as an indicator; however, other studies referenced in the article, did not find that there was a correlation between duration and serum magnesium. The authors also stated that inadequate magnesium intake in the diet can also cause a deficiency.

Practice Pearls:

  • Magnesium plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and insulin action.
  • The study showed serum magnesium levels decline with increasing HbA1c and duration of T2DM.
  • Further studies will be needed to understand the mechanism of diabetic hypomagnesaemia before we can use it as a status indicator in the T2DM population.

S. Ramadass. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews; doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2014.04.024, published Jan-Mar, 2015