Life Extension Magazine®

An array of dietary sources that have magnesium

Magnesium's Role in Fighting Type II Diabetes

Clinical studies show that magnesium can improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in those at risk for or with type II diabetes.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in July 2023. Written by: Martin Stephens.

Roughly half of all adults in the U.S. do not get enough magnesium.1,2

And 25% of Americans are thought to be magnesium-deficient.3

That's a major problem.

Magnesium deficiency is a contributor to metabolic disease, including type II diabetes.4-6

Systematic review of clinical studies suggest that oral magnesium supplementation could have favorable effects on glycemic control in type II diabetics.7

In people with type II diabetes or in those at high risk of developing it, several clinical trials have demonstrated that supplemental magnesium can:

  • Improve glucose/A1C control,9-11
  • Enhance insulin sensitivity,9,12
  • Correct metabolic imbalances.8

These actions may reduce damage inflicted by type II diabetes and help delay its development.

A Vital Mineral

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It is a required cofactor ("helper molecule") for hundreds of essential enzymatic processes within cells.4,5

These enzymes include many that are involved in cell metabolism and energy production. Deficiency of magnesium negatively impacts these functions.

Magnesium also interacts in a critical way with other nutrients. For example, magnesium is required for the activation of vitamin D in the body.13 If you are taking vitamin D but your magnesium levels are low, the vitamin D can't deliver all its benefits.

The Type II Diabetes Link

Many of the enzymes and proteins that rely on magnesium play a vital role in insulin function and the metabolism of blood glucose.4,5,8

As a result, the impact that magnesium deficiency has on metabolic health is profound. It directly contributes to diseases such as type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis 1,4 Magnesium deficiency also increases risk for other chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular disease.14,15

Observational studies show that the lower the dietary magnesium intake, the higher the prevalence of diabetes.4,5

Additionally, individuals who already have a diagnosis of type II diabetes often have lower magnesium levels than healthy individuals.5,16

The connection between magnesium and diabetes is so strong because magnesium affects multiple aspects of metabolism.

Magnesium is crucial at practically every step of insulin function and sugar metabolism, including:4,5

  • Insulin secretion. After a meal, the hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas to help tissues take up and process blood sugar. With magnesium deficiency, the mechanism that leads to insulin secretion is impaired, leaving blood glucose levels elevated.17
  • Glucose metabolism. Many of the enzymes involved in the metabolism of glucose and other nutrients rely on magnesium to function. Low magnesium impairs cells' ability to process nutrients and extract energy from them.
  • Insulin sensitivity. Magnesium deficiency contributes to insulin resistance. This drop in insulin sensitivity is central to type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.9,18 Studies have found that higher magnesium levels correlate with higher insulin sensitivity. 18,19

Defects in insulin function and glucose metabolism lead to insulin resistance and high blood sugar. High blood sugar eventually results in complications of diabetes, including kidney disease, eye disease, cognitive decline, and nerve damage.

By preventing or countering these defects, magnesium has shown potential to help prevent or control type II diabetes.20

What You Need to Know

How Magnesium May Counter Type II Diabetes

  • The mineral magnesium is required for the function of hundreds of essential enzymatic processes within cells.
  • Over 25% of Americans are believed to be magnesium-deficient, while it is estimated that roughly 50% consume inadequate levels of this essential mineral. Low magnesium levels are tied to risk for several chronic diseases, especially type II diabetes.
  • Human studies show that oral supplementation with magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control in those with type II diabetes, which may help control the disease and prevent complications.
  • Magnesium can also improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control in non-diabetic adults who are overweight or have insulin resistance, which may prevent diabetes from developing.

What Human Trials Reveal

Several clinical trials have shown that oral magnesium supplementation improves control of blood glucose and insulin sensitivity in people with type II diabetes.9,11,20

Other studies have shown that magnesium can be beneficial in those at risk for type II diabetes who do not yet have a diagnosis.

For example, in non-diabetic adults who have insulin resistance or are overweight, supplemental magnesium has been shown to improve metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and blood glucose control.8,12,21,22

This indicates that increased magnesium intake, specifically with oral supplements, may not only be useful for those already suffering from diabetes, but may also help in preventing progression to type II diabetes in high-risk people.


Roughly half of all adults in the U.S. do not get enough magnesium. .

Lower magnesium intake increases the risk for metabolic disease, including type II diabetes. Higher magnesium levels correlate with better insulin sensitivity.

Human trials have found that supplementation with oral magnesium can improve metabolism, increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control in type II diabetics and those at risk for it.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


  1. Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr Rev. 2012Mar;70(3):153-64.
  2. Available at: . Accessed April, 19, 2023.
  3. Costello RB, Elin RJ, Rosanoff A, et al. Perspective: The Case for an Evidence-Based Reference Interval for Serum Magnesium: The Time Has Come. Adv Nutr.2016Nov;7(6):977-93.
  4. Kostov K. Effects of Magnesium Deficiency on Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes: Focusing on the Processes of Insulin Secretion and Signaling. Int J Mol Sci.2019Mar 18;20(6):1351.
  5. Piuri G, Zocchi M, Della Porta M, et al. Magnesium in Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients.2021Jan 22;13(2).
  6. Pelczynska M, Moszak M, Bogdanski P. The Role of Magnesium in the Pathogenesis of Metabolic Disorders. Nutrients.2022Apr 20;14(9).
  7. Asbaghi O, Moradi S, Kashkooli S, et al. The effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. /p J Nutr.2022Dec 28;128(12):2363-72.
  8. Chacko SA, Sul J, Song Y, et al. Magnesium supplementation, metabolic and inflammatory markers, and global genomic and proteomic profiling: a randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial in overweight individuals. Am J Clin Nutr.2011Feb;93(2):463-73.
  9. WA EL, Naser IA, Taleb MH, et al. The Effects of Oral Magnesium Supplementation on Glycemic Response among Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Nutrients. 2018Dec 26;11(1).
  10. Song Y, He K, Levitan EB, et al. Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials. Diabet Med.2006Oct;23(10):1050-6.
  11. Solati M, Ouspid E, Hosseini S, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation in type II diabetic patients. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2014;28:67.
  12. Mooren FC, Kruger K, Volker K, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects - a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2011Mar;13(3):281-4.
  13. Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc.2018Mar 1;118(3):181-9.
  14. Rosique-Esteban N, Guasch-Ferre M, Hernandez-Alonso P, et al. Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies. Nutrients.2018Feb 1;10(2).
  15. Kostov K, Halacheva L. Role of Magnesium Deficiency in Promoting Atherosclerosis, Endothelial Dysfunction, and Arterial Stiffening as Risk Factors for Hypertension. Int J Mol Sci.2018Jun 11;19(6).
  16. Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ. Magnesium and type 2 diabetes. World J Diabetes. 2015Aug 25;6(10):1152-7.
  17. Kostov K. Effects of Magnesium Deficiency on Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes: Focusing on the Processes of Insulin Secretion and Signaling. Int J Mol Sci.2019Mar 18;20(6).
  18. de Sousa Melo SR, Dos Santos LR, da Cunha Soares T, et al. Participation of Magnesium in the Secretion and Signaling Pathways of Insulin: an Updated Review. Biol Trace Elem Res.2022Aug;200(8):3545-53.
  19. Hruby A, Meigs JB, O'Donnell CJ, et al. Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and progression from prediabetes to diabetes in middle-aged americans. Diabetes Care.2014Feb;37(2):419-27.
  20. Xu L, Li X, Wang X, et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on improving hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension in type 2 diabetes: A pooled analysis of 24 randomized controlled trials. Front Nutr. 2022;9:1020327.
  21. Simental-Mendía LE, Sahebkar A, Rodríguez-Morán M, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Pharmacological Research.20162016/09/01/;111:272-82.
  22. Veronese N, Dominguez LJ, Pizzol D, et al. Oral Magnesium Supplementation for Treating Glucose Metabolism Parameters in People with or at Risk of Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients.2021Nov 15;13(11).
  23. DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart.2018;5(1):e000668.
  24. Bain LK, Myint PK, Jennings A, et al. The relationship between dietary magnesium intake, stroke and its major risk factors, blood pressure and cholesterol, in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. Int J Cardiol.2015Oct 1;196:108-14.