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Dr. Guerrero: My name is Fernando Guerrero. I’m working in Durango, Mexico. I’m a senior researcher working in the field of obesity-related comorbidities and specifically in magnesium research and the relationship between magnesium and diabetes and glucose metabolic disorders in diabetes. I’m here presenting some new data about this relationship, focusing on the usefulness of magnesium, supplements of magnesium and the treatment of diabetes. Mainly in the prevention of the disease.
Steve Freed: That sounds very interesting. You mentioned one word that pops out and that’s prevention. With the amount of prediabetes in Mexico, there are people with diabetes in Mexico, is that correct?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes, we have a lot of diabetes and prediabetes. In fact, the prevalence of prediabetes is about 30%, I think that is the same as in the USA. All these people are heading toward diabetes. So, we need to make something there to prevent the disease. Today we showed some data of some clinical essays with using magnesium: supplements from magnesium, that is not a pharmacological presentation, it’s a supplement. Diet supplement. This supplement, we show that it’s available to change the prediabetes condition. Some people with impaired glucose change to fasting glucose, or change to the normal glucose status. So, we think that this could be useful for clinicians everywhere.
Steve Freed: If you are talking about adding something to somebody’s nutritional diet, that usually means that they’re deficient in that product. Has your research shown that people that are susceptible to diabetes are deficient in magnesium?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes, unfortunately magnesium deficiency is increasing for two reasons related to this. One of these is that people are not eating healthy. They are eating a lot of foods that do not contain magnesium. Magnesium is mainly in vegetables, nuts, almonds, and people are not eating that type of food. Magnesium is decreasing.
Steve Freed: Where did you even come up with the idea that magnesium could possibly do the things that you’re putting research in? There are a million different compounds that you could say, maybe this helps, maybe this helps. So obviously, there’s something that said to you that magnesium could be an answer?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes, the second reason that is related to this is that unfortunately the use of soil, the use of fertilizers is rapidly increasing and it decreases the magnesium content in the soil. Magnesium is alkaline. It’s an alkaline compound, so it’s rapidly decreasing in the soil. So, I take some vegetables and these vegetables are poor in magnesium content. We think that one of the strategies in policies of public health should be related to the detection of hypomagnesemia in the prediabetic subject in order to supplement this deficiency. It’s obvious that there are two strategies. One strategy is improving eating and the other one is obviously also the use of magnesium supplements.
Steve Freed: So, what kind of results have you seen? Obviously, there are some kind of studies that have been done prior to when you got involved? What information do we have that says this might work?
Dr. Guerrero: Magnesium is related to all these reactions in the organs that are related to the use of energy. All the phosphate energy reactions use magnesium as a factor. When the magnesium is decreasing, we see blockage in the insulin receptors and membrane of the muscles and adipose tissue. So, deficiency of magnesium is related to the increase of insulin resistance. So, in the way the insulin resistance is increasing, glucose also is increasing. But surprisingly we have some data about magnesium also related to the decrease of insulin secretion. That magnesium deficiency is related also to the decrease of insulin secretion. So, magnesium is acting in both ways of the physiopathology of diabetes. On one hand the decrease of insulin sensitivity and on the other hand the decrease of insulin secretion. When we use supplemental magnesium in individuals with diabetes we see improvements in glucose levels and also, we can see improvement in the lipid profile. That does not mean that the individual doesn’t require specific drugs any more for regulating hyperglycemia. That means that individual substantially improves their glucose level and also their lipid profile. That’s in individuals with diabetes. Individuals with prediabetes we can see the improvement in the glucose status. So, subjects with IFG, impaired fasting glucose, improve and moved their glucose status to normal glucose. We have results that I am presenting today about a follow-up study of five years in which subjects receiving magnesium supplements decreased the incidence of type 2 diabetes as compared with individuals in the group with the placebo. Both groups receive diet and exercise.
Steve Freed: What was the difference in the two groups?
Dr. Guerrero: In the basic condition the two groups were similar in the age of the individuals and the sex also were similar, without a statistical significant difference, by body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, lipid profile. They were matched. Both groups received the same advice about diet and advice about exercise. And with the follow-up after five years with a visit every two months, the final of the follow-up, individuals in the group with magnesium supplements, significantly decreased their incidence of type 2 diabetes, compared with the other group.
Steve Freed: What type of magnesium supplement and what was the dose?
Dr. Guerrero: This is different about the country. In Mexico, we have magnesium chloride. Only magnesium chloride, recently we also have magnesium lactate. But in the USA, I know there is magnesium lactate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium citrate.
Steve Freed: Which one do you recommend?
Dr. Guerrero: The doses vary according to salt, but the objective is to provide 300 mg of magnesium salt.
Steve Freed: Magnesium sulfate.
Dr. Guerrero: Yes, 300 mg.
Steve Freed: I didn’t let you finish. How long did the study go on for? Or is it on-going right now?
Dr. Guerrero: I think it is necessary to have further studies. Fundamentally including individuals from another ethnicities and other races, in other countries. We have studies in collaboration with a group in Germany and also in France. So, we can tell you that German people, French people, Mexican people are improving with this kind of supplement.
Steve Freed: You say improving, that means that you’re adding magnesium supplement to those with diabetes.
Dr. Guerrero: Yes.
Steve Freed: What about, you had mentioned prevention?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes. That is an interesting question because there are not studies about prevention of diabetes, they are scarce, really scarce. There are two or three studies worldwide. One of them is our study. Our study is with five years’ follow-up, there are other studies with 6 months of follow-up. But the three studies consistently show that their magnesium status improve in individuals with prediabetes. Two of these studies only show that magnesium status improved, but the follow-up was not enough to prove if the incidence increased. Our study proved that magnesium incidence decreased in individuals receiving magnesium supplements.
Steve Freed: With probably over 300 million people with prediabetes, if there was a simple thing like adding magnesium, that could be added to the water if we had to. Where is that information? Is that something you are working on? Or is that something you are going to work on?
Dr. Guerrero: I absolutely agree. Magnesium is possibly a source for prevention of the disease. Most importantly, it has no side effects. It is absolutely safe. Another thing is the treatment with magnesium chloride maybe has a cost of $1 per month. It is absolutely cheap.
Steve Freed: So where are we with looking at, can this possibly prevent prediabetes from going to diabetes? That would have to be a fairly long-term study, because if you only prevent it for two weeks, that doesn’t really mean much. You want to see how long it can prevent it.
Dr. Guerrero: Yes, the condition is that magnesium should be in the normal levels, so what we recommend is that individuals should be taking magnesium levels every 6 months, two per year. If magnesium decreases because this is related to the type of diet, it should be supplemented. The next 6 months, they should take magnesium levels. If you decrease the supplement again. But if there is no decrease, you can maintain the diet that is providing the appropriate magnesium levels in their organs. So, it is a fact of vigilance, supervision every 6 months for the magnesium levels. This is easy to measure in a serum, because it’s a colorimetric metal that is available in every laboratory.
Steve Freed: One of the issues I see is that magnesium can’t be patented. Therefore, there’s no large amounts of money coming to do the research. It’s a crime, but there can’t be a profit on it, people won’t invest in the theory, the philosophy, or anything. So how do you overcome that?
Dr. Guerrero: That’s interesting, I don’t know. Also, it’s related to the money and the interest of industry of health is a way to say that. There’s an industry of health, it’s a powerful industry of health. But there is also I think it should be first, the results in the health in people. I think that all people can take this advance to their health. I don’t know if I worded that appropriately.
Steve Freed: Would you recommend people that have prediabetes to check their magnesium levels?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes, that’s important. That’s a very important key.
Steve Freed: What level would you consider you have to add magnesium?
Dr. Guerrero: We have also studies about that. We have found that at 1.8 mg per deciliter is the appropriate magnesium. I think that in the USA, you use millimoles per liter. If that is the case, then millimoles per liter is 0.74.
Steve Freed: So, would you recommend for that person to maybe take 300 mg of magnesium sulfate.
Dr. Guerrero: 300 mg, yes.
Steve Freed: Once a day?
Dr. Guerrero: Once a day. This can be taken by tablet in the case of citrate and lactate. But magnesium chloride has also the presentation in a solution, but also there is a tablet.
Steve Freed: We’re only talking about type 2 diabetes, right?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes.
Steve Freed: I think there’s been a number of studies about magnesium and diabetes that I remember seeing some information on. I don’t know if they were all positive. Are you familiar with any of the other studies?
Dr. Guerrero: Yes. Maybe the first studies about magnesium in Type 2 diabetes is from Dr. Paul Lista in New York. Approximately in 1980. They showed good results in determining that magnesium in individuals with Type 2 diabetes will decrease the glucose levels. Posterior studies have shown consistently that magnesium decreases glucose levels, also it improves the lipid profile, decreasing cholesterol, decreasing ACL cholesterol. But the most important is that it also prevents some kinds of chronic complications, particularly it’s related to the prevention of hypertension in diuretic food. In individuals with Type 2 diabetes maybe it’s not only related to the improvement of the glucose levels and lipid profile, but also with the prevention of the secondary complications. All the studies are consistent, maybe Dr. Lima in Brazil shows no benefits of using magnesium salts and in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, but that’s Dr. Lima. Results from the groups from Italy, from France, from Germany, from Mexico, there are some groups in the USA, they all show consistently decrease in glucose levels and improvement of glucose status in the individuals with Type 2 diabetes.
Steve Freed: What kind of response are you getting from the US from other medical people? From the medical community?
Dr. Guerrero: I don’t know. We are talking about that magnesium is not a drug, it’s a supplement. So, this sounds like…
Steve Freed: A dream.
Dr. Guerrero: Yes. But it’s really not. The fact that it’s not a drug means that people can buy this supplement in their pharmacy, wherever there is magnesium. It doesn’t require a medical prescription. It requires medical vigilance.
Steve Freed: Are you ready to receive the Nobel Prize?
Dr. Guerrero: The magnesium really is amazing. The main problem is like I said before, the power of the health industry. I don’t know. I think that one side is showing some interesting results and then the other side is the economic interest. If you review all the new drugs available for the treatment of diabetes, there are a lot of drugs. Every year, there is a new drug in the market. Drugs to treat or prevent diabetes, there are not any kind of drug. Maybe a couple. No, they aren’t there. No drug is available in the market to prevent diabetes, or to treat individuals with prediabetes.
Steve Freed: They are working on a pill now that when you swallow it, your body thinks you exercised for an hour.
Dr. Guerrero: It will be great. The most important advances about the drugs that limit eating, but specifically to treat or to improve the insulin sensitivity or to improve insulin secretion, there are no drugs in the market to use in the prediabetic individuals.
Steve Freed: I want to thank you for your time. I hope that you go forward with more testing.