The term metabolic syndrome, a
disease of the modern times, is generally referred to a group of conditions
viz. obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. One common feature in patients with
any or all of these conditions is the deficiency of magnesium. Earlier studies
have found that low serum magnesium levels are associated with a higher
prevalence of the metabolic abnormalities.
has a number of
physiological functions in the body. It is required in higher quantities during
sports, workouts and other physical activities, or when sweating profusely since
it affects oxygen uptake, energy production and electrolyte balance with regard
to muscle function. In fact, dysfunction of all these three factors due to
deficiency of magnesium is associated with chronic diseases including diabetes,
hypertension and lipid abnormalities.
Low magnesium levels are also
associated with depression and studies have shown that magnesium
supplementation is effective in treating depression in elderly people with
Considering the fact that type-2 diabetes is a global health
problem increasingly seen in the elderly people, assessment of magnesium status
is important for determining the association of magnesium with diabetes,
metabolic control and cardiovascular disease.
Clinical studies have suggested that dietary magnesium
deficiency may impair metabolic control but various studies on magnesium intake
and magnesium supplementation were inconsistent. And magnesium intake in
elderly diabetics and its relationship to metabolic syndrome were not much
So, Jui-Hua Huang from Fu-Jen Catholic University, New
Taipei City, Taiwan, and colleagues, conducted a study to investigate magnesium
status in aging type-2 diabetics and its relationship to metabolic control,
depression and physical activity.
They recruited 210 diabetic patients (98 men and 112
women) aged 65 years and above from a rural area of central Taiwan. Information
on lifestyle and 24-hour dietary recall was collected through interview of
these patients. Depression was assessed based on DSM-IV criteria. Anthropometric
measurements, including height, weight, blood pressure, waist circumference,
and body fat percentage were taken, and biochemical determinations of blood and
urine samples were done. The relationships of magnesium intake with nutritional
variables and metabolic parameters were determined through linear regression.
The study results suggested that -
percent of elderly type 2 study subjects had low magnesium intake.
one-third of the subjects had hypomagnesemia.
was seen in subjects with low magnesium intake.
intake was associated with high physical activity. However, people with
high physical activity displayed lower serum magnesium levels than those
of the moderate physical activity.
magnesium intake was associated with metabolic syndrome biomarkers such as
HDL, triglyceride, BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference.
intake was inversely proportional to systolic and diastolic blood pressure
lower intake of magnesium intake was associated with low energy and
The investigators suggested that 'Increased magnesium
intake may improve metabolic control in patients with metabolic syndromes'.
An interesting finding of this study is the
non-co-relation of serum magnesium with total magnesium intake. The
investigators found that although 89 percent of the subjects had a magnesium
intake of less than recommended values, the prevalence of hypomagnesaemia was
only 37 percent. This goes to show that 'serum magnesium may not be a good
marker and may be inaccurate to correlates with magnesium status', according to
The researchers also found that risk of hypomagnesemia
increases in subjects with high intensity physical activity and low magnesium
intake. So, they advised elderly diabetes patients with high physical activity
but low serum magnesium, to increase magnesium intake through magnesium
supplementation or dietary magnesium.
Despite certain limitations to the study, the authors
confidently concluded that 'Majority of elderly diabetes patients have low
magnesium intake and may exacerbate metabolic abnormalities and depression.
Clinical care should therefore focus on increasing dietary magnesium intake or
magnesium supplementation to improve metabolic control, depression, and
physical performance in elderly diabetes patients'.
Huang, J-H, et. al. Correlation of magnesium intake
with metabolic parameters, depression and physical activity in elderly type 2
diabetes patients: a cross-sectional study. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:41