Magnesium Intake Affects Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A new study published January 7, 2015, in the Journal of Nutrition found that magnesium levels, genes, and race affect a woman's likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

A new study published January 7, 2015, in the Journal of Nutrition found that magnesium levels, genes, and race affect a woman’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D).

While previous studies have attributed low magnesium levels to a higher T2D risk, the current research delved into how genes and race affect a woman’s odds.

Relying on data from the Women's Health Initiative, the researchers examined 17 magnesium-related ion channel genes and their associations with T2D risk among 7287 African-American and 3285 Hispanic-American postmenopausal women.

The investigators determined that T2D risk was reduced by 16% for each additional copy of the rs6584273 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that an African-American woman carried in her CNNMI gene. Furthermore, Hispanic-American women with high magnesium intake and the rs8028189 SNP on their NIPA2 gene had a 35% lower T2D risk compared with women overall.

Among Hispanic-American women, several variants in genes related to magnesium homeostasis were significantly associated with T2D risk, including the SLC41A2, NIPAI, and MRS2 regions.

Those with the lowest magnesium levels—≤0.164 g/d for African-American women and ≤0.185 g/d for Hispanic-American women—were at the highest risk for developing T2D, according to the study authors.

“Nutrient metabolism is genetically regulated, and each gene typically has some specific functions,” said senior study author Simin Liu, MD, ScD, professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Brown University and professor of medicine at the Alpert Medical School, in a press release. “Our study suggests each one’s relative contribution to diabetes risk in different women. But more study is needed to understand these links well enough to craft interventions.”