The deficiency of various elements is associated with diabetes and its complications, including magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient, and managing sugar levels is among many of its important functions in the body. It is seen that about 25% – 39% of individuals with diabetes have magnesium deficiency. Various reasons, such as increased excretion of magnesium in urine, results in magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency in patients with type 1 diabetes could cause diabetic complications such as macroangiopathy.

Type 1 Diabetes and Magnesium Deficiency

Each and every cell of the body needs adequate magnesium to function optimally. Balanced hormones, strong teeth and bones, and a healthy cardiovascular and nervous system need magnesium to function. Generally, magnesium is less abundant and difficult to absorb. Factors such as pesticide use, high sugar diet, fluoridated water, processed foods, high sugar diet, and certain medications cause low magnesium levels.

Type 1 diabetes further increases the risk. Studies have shown that plasma levels of magnesium are lesser in people with type 1 diabetes as compared to the general population. Insulin aids the transfer of magnesium from the blood into the body cells. As insulin is deficient in people with type 1 diabetes, cells are deficient in magnesium.

Other reasons for magnesium deficiency in type 1 diabetes are:

  • Higher renal excretion of magnesium
  • Diet deficient in magnesium
  • Insulin resistance
  • Use of diuretics

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency are:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Difficult concentration
  • Soreness of muscle
  • Sensitiveness to noise 
  • Improper sleep
  • Poor memory

Magnesium-Rich Foods for Type 1 Diabetes

Many animals and plants are rich in magnesium. With type 1 diabetes, you can take the following magnesium-rich foods:

  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Chicken breast
  • Avocados
  • Green leafy vegetables 
  • Peanut butter
  • Ground beef
  • Oatmeal
  • Broccoli
  • Yogurt

Mineral water, tap water, and bottled water are also good sources of magnesium.

Type 1 Diabetes and Magnesium Deficiency Effect

Research suggests that magnesium deficiency increases the risk of cardiovascular complications associated with type 1 diabetes. Low magnesium concentrations oxidize LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), which results in plaque accumulation and narrowing of blood vessels supplying the heart. As the blood supply to the heart is reduced, it fails to function normally, resulting in cardiovascular disorders. Magnesium deficiency is also associated with insulin resistance, a condition where the body cells do not respond to insulin the way they should. This further alters sugar levels in type 1 diabetes.

It is also seen that magnesium deficiency can also result in the following diabetes-related complications:

  • Nephropathy
  • Retinopathy
  • Neuropathy

Additionally, maintaining magnesium level is seen to:

  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Protect against diabetic complications
  • Prevent stroke 

It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about magnesium levels in your body. If you have any symptoms of magnesium deficiency, the doctor might advise you to check them, and may even prescribe supplements.

Best Magnesium Supplement for Type 1 Diabetes

The dose of supplement is based on the recommended daily allowance of magnesium, which is about 350 mg of elemental magnesium per day in adults or 5 mg/kg/day.

Magnesium salt is commonly available as:

  • Magnesium citrate: Is more water-soluble and has a better impact on improving magnesium levels than magnesium oxide. This form is an excellent solution for constipated patients.
  • Magnesium oxide: Is a lesser water-soluble than magnesium citrate.

Other forms of magnesium salts are:

  • Mg glycinate
  • Mg Malate
  • Mg taurate

Generally, the daily dose of magnesium supplement is about 900 mg of Magnesium Citrate and includes 145 mg of elemental magnesium.

A magnesium supplement is contraindicated in:

  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Renal failure
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Severe bradycardia

Final Thoughts

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in various body functions. Its deficiency is linked with insulin resistance and type 1 diabetes-associated complications, also making it difficult to manage sugar levels.

A diet including magnesium-rich foods and supplements aids in managing type 1 diabetes and protects against various complications. Talk to your doctor to check magnesium levels and manage them as advised.

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