Magnesium levels are reduced in diabetic minorities
A study reported in the December, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that African American and Hispanic diabetics have lower levels of magnesium than prediabetic or normal men and women. Diabetes is disproportionally found in these populations, who consume less magnesium in their diets and tend to have lower levels of the mineral. Magnesium is important for the metabolism of energy and glucose homeostasis.
Researchers at the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University evaluated data from 485 Hispanic and Africa American men and women who participated in the Rosetta Study, which assessed body composition in healthy adults living in New York City between 1990 and 2000. Participants received physical examinations and underwent scans to measure fat mass and fat free mass. Fasting serum samples were analyzed for magnesium and glucose.
Approximately 12 percent of the participants were diabetic and 30 percent prediabetic as determined by fasting glucose levels. Hispanic participants had significantly lower levels of magnesium and fat free mass than African Americans. Although there was no significant difference observed in mean magnesium levels between the prediabetic and normal groups, diabetics had levels of the mineral that were significantly lower than that of the normal subjects.
The NHANES 1999-2000 data found that dietary sources of magnesium such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and dairy products were significantly lower in African Americans compared to Caucasians and predominantly Mexican American Hispanics. The current study found lower levels of magnesium among Hispanics than African Americans, however, the Hispanic population in the study was mainly Puerto Rican, whose dietary habits may vary or who may metabolize the mineral differently. “These data confirm the results shown in other studies of significantly lower levels of serum magnesium among those with fasting glucose levels equivalent to the ADA criteria for diabetes among racial/ethnic minorities,” the authors conclude.
Diabetes prevention or living with diabetes begins with exercise, weight loss if necessary, and dietary modifications. A high-fiber, plant-based diet has been shown to improve type 2 diabetes and to encourage weight loss.
Under no circumstances should people suddenly stop taking diabetic drugs, especially insulin. A type 1 diabetic will never be able to stop taking insulin. However, it is possible to improve glucose metabolism, control, and tolerance with the following supplements:
One of the most deleterious effects of “normal” aging is rising glucose (blood sugar) levels. Excess glucose floods cells throughout the body, overwhelming their metabolic machinery and increasing the mitochondrial production of free radicals. Failure to control this excess sugar can lead to numerous health issues.
Benfotiamine, a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1 (thiamine), supports healthy blood sugar metabolism and acts through several mechanisms to block the biochemical pathways by which high blood sugar wreaks havoc throughout the body. For example, the enzyme transketolase is critical to blood sugar metabolism. Like many enzymes, transketolase requires a cofactor. In this case, it needs assistance from thiamine. Unfortunately, thiamine is water soluble, which makes it less available to the interior of the cell. Since benfotiamine is fat soluble, it enters areas of the body where water-soluble thiamine cannot penetrate.