how to manage diabetes

Magnesium and Diabetes: What is the Correlation?

Magnesium Types
Natural Sources of Magnesium for Diabetes
Magnesium and Diabetes Type 1
Magnesium and Diabetes Type 2
Role of Insulin in Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels

Magnesium is one of the most vital macrominerals that is required for various bodily functions. The body should get at least 100 mg of magnesium per day either through food sources or through a supplement. 50 to 60% of the magnesium derived gets stored by the skeletal system whereas the rest will be in the soft tissues, muscles, and body fluids.  Magnesium and diabetes are well connected, since maintenance of magnesium levels will help control diabetes. Read further to know how can magnesium reverse diabetes, food sources of magnesium, and the impact of magnesium on type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium Types

There are various types of magnesium and if you want to know “how can magnesium reverse diabetes and which type can do it?”, then read on

The various types of magnesium are:

  • Magnesium chloride
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium taurate
  • Magnesium sulphate
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Magnesium carbonate
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium aspartate
  • Magnesium lactate
  • Magnesium  threonate
  • Magnesium gluconate

All types of magnesium do not have the same properties. Each one is suited for different ailments. Some dissolve well in liquids and get easily absorbed into the system. When a comparison was made, it was observed that magnesium chloride, magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium lactate are absorbed better than magnesium sulphate and magnesium oxide.

It was observed that 300 mg of magnesium chloride and 1000mg of magnesium oxide were the preferred types of magnesium for diabetes. They were able to control the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. You can either get the required magnesium through diet or through supplements. 

Magnesium and diabetes go hand in hand and Magnesium reverse diabetes if an adequate level is maintained, more specifically it helps better sugar control and reduces the risk of development of type 2 Diabetes in prediabetics. Over absorption of magnesium through food will not have any adverse effect, as the excess absorbed will be relieved as waste through urine. But you should be careful when you are supplementing the required magnesium, as it can have adverse effects if the dosage is more than the required level. 

Please consult a physician for supplements if the magnesium deficiency is surfaced. Magnesium supplements are available in capsule, powdered, and liquid forms. Alternatively, it can be injected into the body as well. 

Natural Sources of Magnesium for Diabetes

The daily requirement of magnesium for females is 320 to 360 mg and for males, it is 410 to 420 mg. It can be easily sourced from the supplements available in the market. However, it is advisable to derive it as much as possible from a natural diet by including the following: 

  • Legumes
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Whole grains
  • Peanut butter
  • Avocado
  • Chicken breast
  • Broccoli
  • Yoghurt
  • Oatmeal

Even tap water, bottled water, and mineral water are good sources of magnesium, though the levels vary according to the source of water. Despite this, if the level is lower than the normal requirement, then you can resort to supplements.

Even before confirming the deficiency through a blood test, you will get warning signals like fatigue, cramps, nausea, and loss of appetite.

Magnesium and Diabetes Type 1

Type 1 Diabetes is generally genetic and is an autoimmune disease that targets the pancreas and prevents them from producing insulin. The environmental factors are also believed to cause type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes normally surfaces at a young age and lasts throughout life. 

Magnesium and Diabetes type 1 are interrelated. Magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of development of cardiovascular issues in Type 1 diabetes.  Oxidation of LDL-cholesterol occurs due to a deficiency in magnesium. This causes plaque deposition that narrows the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart, impacting the normal functioning of the heart. Reduced blood supply to the heart gives rise to cardiovascular issues.

Type 1 diabetes and the associated health issues can be averted by increasing the magnesium levels in the body. You can derive the required level of magnesium either through diet or supplements. 

Magnesium and Diabetes Type 2

There are several factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes. It could be genetic and could surface due to lifestyle issues like obesity and less physical activity. Magnesium deficiency increases the risk of development of  type 2 diabetes. Magnesium depletion could be due to intake of a diet that is low in magnesium or due to excretion of higher amounts of magnesium through urination. Depleted levels of magnesium give rise to insulin resistance that leads to diabetes type 2 and so magnesium and diabetes type 2 are associated.

You can control type 2 diabetes with physical activities that can control weight loss and mitigate both the causes of diabetes i.e., obesity and less physical activity. As for increasing the magnesium levels in the system, it can be done by either deriving it from natural sources or by intake of supplements.

Role of Insulin in Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels along with another hormone, glucagon. Carbohydrate content in the food we intake is converted into sugar during the process of digestion. Glucose enters the bloodstream and when its level increases, pancreas get a signal to produce insulin.

Insulin instructs the cells in our body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream to maintain the sugar level. Glucose is converted into energy by some cells and the cells in the muscles and liver store it as glycogen. Glycogen provides fuel to your body as and when required. 

Deficiency in magnesium builds up insulin resistance i.e. body cells do not utilize insulin effectively which may lead to increase in blood sugar levels.


An adequate level of magnesium for diabetes control is very important and so it is highly recommended to plan a diet that will provide the daily requirement of this mineral. Diabetes is a highly demanding disease and needs constant maintenance. Diabetes can lead to several eye-related issues such as retinopathy, glaucoma, and diabetic macular oedema. Magnesium and diabetes are interrelated and this is why ensuring maintenance of magnesium levels with proper diet and supplements is important to lead a diabetes-free life.

How to Manage Diabetes

Currently, India is home to nearly 62 million diabetics. No longer, diabetes is associated with higher income group, as more and more people from lower and middle-income background are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Colloquially known as ‘sugar’ or ‘high sugar’ uncontrolled diabetes is a multi-system disorder that affects the health of your heart, eyes and kidneys.


In the human body carbs is broken down into sugar or glucose post digestion. The sugar is the fuel for the cells and the insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas holds the key that opens the cells and allows sugar in the blood stream to enter inside the cells. In the patients of diabetes the mechanism of insulin gets hampered. Either the pancreas stops making insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the cells become resistant to it (type 2 diabetes). As a result, the cells do not get their fuel (sugar: the simplified form of carb) and there is sugar overload in the blood, which releases through urine. The real diabetes epidemic comes from type 2 diabetes. One of the primary, causes of diabetes in Indians is sedentary lifestyle. The other reasons for diabetes are diet and the Indian gene pool.


Initially, the symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, dry mouth, frequent urination and increased hunger especially after eating. The other symptoms are unexplained weight loss, even after eating well and hunger, blurred vision and headaches. More often than not, people choose to ignore  initial signs of diabetes. Undiagnosed diabetes remains a bigger threat. Nearly, 60 percent people in India suffer from undiagnosed diabetes that leads to serious health complications, like heart disease, kidney and eye disorders.


Long-term complications include heart attacks, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage and foot infections that lead to amputation of limbs, dental damage, and so on. Around the world, a lower limb is lost to diabetes every 30 seconds. Diabetes is the most important risk factor for heart disease. Many of these complications do not produce any symptom in the early stage and most can be prevented with a combination of regular medical care and blood glucose monitoring. User-friendly blood glucometers that monitor blood glucose levels at home can indicate how well diabetes is controlled and serves as a guide to adjusting therapy

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and you have to learn to live with it. Though initially you may feel angry or overwhelmed, you a plan to manage diabetes with few essential steps will make it easier for you to eat well and stay active. Diet and exercise are the two cornerstones of managing diabetes.

1. Increase your level of physical activity. Diabetics need to keep their weight in check.  Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes for five times a week or 150 minutes per week.  To increase your insulin sensitivity, moderate exercise is better than no exercise, but intense exercise is even better. Therefore, it makes sense to enroll in a class of aerobics, Zumba dance. When you exercise intensely, your body uses more glycogen, the stored form of glucose. To replace those stores, glucose is pulled from the bloodstream.

2. Make intelligent food choices. Choose foods that are lower in fat, trans fat and calories. Avoid sugary drinks. When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken without the skin, and one-quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.  Increasing fiber intake keeps your blood sugar stable. You should add leafy greens to your dough and substitute daliya (roasted wheat flakes) with cereal to get more fiber in your diet. Rather than eating three large meals, eat six small meals.

A diabetic should avoid eating rice, potato, refined flour, deep fried foods and red meat. Very sweet fruits, like grapes and chickoo are off limits for a diabetic. Vegetables like palak (spinach), leafy greens, Dudhi (bottle gourd) are good for diabetics. If the diabetic suffers from kidney problems, they should have more of fresh vegetables and less of protein.

3. Keep a check on your stress level. Stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on your hobby, or listening to your favorite music.

4. Go for regular tests. Diabetics need to meticulously control their blood pressure and blood sugar. They should be careful about the health of their feet and eyes. A regular urine test is required to detect the health of their kidneys.



The first mention of diabetes dates back to probably 250 BC. Traditionally, Ayurveda has been recruiting herbs, like gurmar (Gymnema Sylvestre), bitter melon, apple cider vinegar, neem and jamun for managing diabetes.  Today, clinical studies have validated the efficacy of these herbs and foods in lowering blood sugar and boosting insulin sensitivity.

Apple cider vinegar helps in managing blood sugar. The acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar interferes with the absorption of starch, but a 2004 study conducted at Arizona State University has found that subjects who drink 20 grams of apple cider vinegar, 40 grams of water and a teaspoon of saccharine (a natural sweetener, like stevia will be better) had 34 percent lower after-meal blood glucose. Therefore, begin drinking your apple cider vinegar tonic at bedtime and exercise a better control over your blood-glucose level.

Treatment of diabetes involves keeping a better control on your blood glucose level, keeping weight in check, eating right diet, taking prescription medicines and recruiting herbs, as and when needed. Most importantly, remain proactive, go for regular health checks and enjoy life.