Magnesium and diabetes: leg cramps as secondary symptom
Breastfeeding mothers, adolescents, sportsmen and women – some people have a higher magnesium requirement. That also includes people with diabetes. They need to take particular care to ensure their magnesium supply is adequate. That’s because numerous studies of patients with type 2 diabetes have found depleted levels of magnesium in blood samples. Read this to find out about the relationship between magnesium and diabetes.
Key facts about magnesium and diabetes
- Maintaining an adequate magnesium intake can increase cell response to insulin.
- However, people with type 2 diabetes often have lower magnesium levels in their blood.
- That's due to an increased loss of magnesium via urine, avoidance of food that's rich in carbohydrates and high magnesium content.
So, if you suffer from diabetes, you need to ensure you have an adequate magnesium intake and look out for potential signs of an inadequate supply such as leg cramps.
Leg cramps if you have diabetes – potentially a sign of magnesium deficiency
Not many people know that magnesium is particularly important for people with diabetes. That’s because numerous studies of people with type 2 diabetes have found depleted levels of magnesium in blood samples. 1 The primary cause of an inadequate magnesium supply is an increase in the amount of the mineral eliminated via the kidneys as a result of higher glucose levels.
People with diabetes also often avoid foods high in carbohydrate such as grains and pulses that have a high magnesium content. Potential indications of magnesium deficiency in people with diabetes include night-time leg cramps, eyelid twitching or tingling in your fingers.
Why magnesium is so important if you have diabetes
Knowing the background to diabetes is important in order to understand the key role magnesium plays. We’ve summarised a few key facts for you here:
Type 2 diabetes affects how the body regulates blood glucose levels. Normally insulin, a metabolic hormone which is produced by the pancreas, maintains these levels and controls the distribution, processing and storage of glucose in the body. In type 2 diabetes blood glucose cannot be properly absorbed by the body’s cells. This is due to insulin deficiency (insufficient insulin is produced by the pancreas) and insulin resistance, where the body cells do not respond effectively to insulin, reducing the amount of glucose that can be “transported” out of the blood. This results in higher than normal blood glucose levels which can at some point cause damage to blood vessels, organs and nerves (diabetic complications).
Magnesium has a part to play in insulin resistance. That’s because magnesium supports the cells’ absorption of sugar from the blood; a lack of the mineral can increase insulin resistance. So, an adequate intake of magnesium can increase the cells’ insulin sensitivity, and is therefore crucial for people with diabetes.
Good magnesium supply for people with diabetes: sugar-free magnesium products
So, an adequate supply of magnesium is important for people with diabetes. The German Nutrition Society’s recommended daily intake for women aged 25 or over is 300 mg and 350 mg for men.2 The latest magnesium products available from pharmacies, such as the Biolectra® Magnesium range, come in various dosage forms to provide a magnesium supply to suit everyone’s needs.
The mineral is very well tolerated and can be combined with all diabetes medication – there are no known interactions.
Prevention: maintaining a good magnesium supply can reduce the risk of diabetes
But maintaining an adequate magnesium supply is not only important for people with diabetes. As studies have shown, people who take adequate amounts of magnesium are also at a lower risk of contracting diabetes.3
So, it’s important to ensure you always include foods that are rich in magnesium in your daily routine. If you have a higher magnesium requirement (for example when you’re breastfeeding or pregnant), magnesium products such as the Biolectra® magnesium range, can also help you supplement your daily supply.
2 Ehrlich et al.: Die Bedeutung von Magnesium für Insulinresistenz, metabolisches Syndrom und Diabetes mellitus – Empfehlungen der Gesellschaft für Magnesium-Forschung e.V. Diabetologie 2014, 9: 96-100. URL: http://www.magnesium-ges.de/pdfs/Empfehlungen_Mg-Diabetes.pdf (19.09.2018).
3 Mooren F.C., Magnesium and disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism ; Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; 2015; doi : 10.1111 / dom. 12492