Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Magnesium Lowers Heart, Diabetes Risks

Mineral Protects Against Metabolic Syndrome
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 27, 2006 -- New research may help explain why eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts helps protect the heart and prevent diabetes.

The key may be the mineral magnesium.

People in the study who ate magnesium-rich diets seemed to be protected against developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

These risk factors include elevated blood pressure, low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol, elevated triglycerides (blood fats), elevated fasting-glucose (blood sugar) levels, and abdominal obesity as determined by waistline measurement.

Low-Magnesium Diets

Study participants who ate diets low in magnesium were more likely to develop the heart disease and diabetes risk factors.

Whole grains, nuts, and many fruits and vegetables are excellent dietary sources of magnesium.

"These foods have long been recognized as being healthy foods that may protect people from disease," researcher Ka He, MD, ScD, tells WebMD. "Magnesium could play an important role in this, but it is just one component of diet -- and diet is just one component of a healthy lifestyle."

The study group consisted of 4,637 young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 when enrolled in the mid-1980s. Fifteen years after entering the study, just over 600 had developed metabolic syndrome.

The researchers divided all the participants into four equal-sized groups based on their reported magnesium intake.

Daily Recommendations

The National Academy of Sciences recommends a daily magnesium intake of 400 milligrams and 310 milligrams, respectively, for adult males and nonpregnant females age 19 to 30. The recommended levels are 420 milligrams for adult males over 30 and 320 milligrams for adult nonpregnant females over 30.

He and colleagues concluded that people in the study who consumed the most magnesium had a 31% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, compared with people who ate the least.

Higher magnesium intake was associated with reduced risk of the individual risk factors that make up metabolic syndrome compared with those with the lowest intake.

The findings are reported in the April 4 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner