(HealthDay News) – Higher magnesium intake may lower risk of incident diabetes, particularly among those at highest risk, according to a study published online Oct. 2 in Diabetes Care.

Based on magnesium intake, Adela Hruby, PhD, from Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues assessed the risk of incident “metabolic impairment,” defined as impaired fasting glucose (≥5.6 to <7mmol/L), impaired glucose tolerance (two-hour post-load glucose, ≥7.8 to <11.1mmol/L), insulin resistance (IR), or hyperinsulinemia (≥90th percentile of homeostasis model assessment of IR or fasting insulin, respectively). Study participants included 2,582 community-dwelling individuals aged 26–81 years old.

The researchers found that those with the highest magnesium intake had a 37% lower risk of incident metabolic impairment (Ptrend=0.02) compared to those with the lowest magnesium intake. In those with baseline metabolic impairment, higher intake was associated with a 32% lower risk of incident diabetes (Ptrend=0.05). In the combined population, the risk for those with the highest intake was 53% (Ptrend=0.0004) of those with the lowest intake. The association in the normal population was attenuated with adjustments for risk factors and dietary fiber while the association was not substantially affected in the metabolically impaired. Higher magnesium intake was linked to lower long-term changes in fasting glucose and IR, but no significant trends were observed in fasting insulin, post-load values, or insulin sensitivity.

“Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting risk of developing diabetes among those at high risk,” the authors write.

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