"Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine", National Institute of Health. People with diabetes take supplements to manage their diabetes and diabetes complications. We have listed articles that discuss supplements and their believed benefits and harm. We suggest you speak with your health care professionals about whether you should take diabetes nutritional supplements.
Magnesium is a mineral. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some whole grains. Glucose supplements and various supplemental forms of magnesium are marketed as tablets, capsules, or liquids.
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Magnesium has many important functions in the body, including in the heart, nerves, muscles, bones, handling glucose, and making proteins. Low levels of magnesium are commonly seen in people with diabetes. Scientists have studied the relationship between magnesium and diabetes for a long time, but it is not yet fully understood.
Summary of the Research Findings
There have been a handful of studies on magnesium and type 2 diabetes, many of them very small in size and/or short in length and primarily looking at blood glucose control. The results have been mixed, with most finding that magnesium did not affect blood glucose control. Some studies have suggested that low magnesium levels may make glucose control worse in type 2 diabetes (interrupting insulin secretion in the pancreas and increasing insulin resistance) and contribute to diabetes complications.
There is evidence that magnesium supplementation may be helpful for insulin resistance. Additional controlled studies are needed to establish firmly whether magnesium supplements have any role or benefit as a CAM therapy for type 2 diabetes.
Side Effects and Other Risks
Magnesium supplements and supplements for diabetes appear to be safe for most adults at low doses. High doses can be unsafe and cause such problems as nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and confusion. Magnesium can interact with and affect the action of certain drugs, including some antibiotics, drugs to prevent osteoporosis, certain high blood pressure medicines (calcium channel blockers), muscle relaxants, and diuretics ("water pills").
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