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Diabetes Risk May Be Linked With Magnesium Intake, Genetic Differences

Magnesium is known to help regulate insulin, an important factor when protecting against type-2 diabetes. The exact manner in which magnesium regulates insulin has been unclear until a recent study found that the risk for type-2 diabetes is closely linked with magnesium intake, genes, and ethnicity.

Participants in the study included 7,287 black women and 3,285 Hispanic women between the ages of 50 and 79 who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative. The researchers used the data to analyze the magnesium intake, type-2 diabetes status and genes of the participants. They identified 17 genes known to regulate how the body handles magnesium. They also identified 583 gene variations. These common one-letter differences (for example, a gene that has an “A” instead of a “G”) are also called single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs.

After examining the data, they found that differences in these genes made a notable difference in diabetes risk. For example, Hispanic American women with high magnesium intake and the SNP “rs8028189” on the gene “NIPA2” had a 35% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes than most women overall. In African American women, each copy of the gene “CNNM1” that had the SNP “rs6584273” were 16% less likely to develop type-2 diabetes.

The researchers stressed that better understanding of the links between magnesium and genes is needed in order to create effective interventions.

Researchers from Brown University and the Alpert Medical School conducted the study. It was published online head of spring on January 7, 2015, in The Journal of Nutrition.

Magnesium is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Previous studies have found that higher intakes of magnesium may reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Eating more magnesium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains, nuts and milk is one way to increase your magnesium intake. Taking a supplement is also a good option.

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