Magnesium Levels are Reduced in Diabetic Minorities

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Magnesium Levels are Reduced in Diabetic Minorities

A study reported in the December, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that African American and Hispanic diabetics have lower levels of magnesium than pre-diabetic or normal men and women.  Diabetes is disproportionably found in these populations, who consume less magnesium in their diets and tend to have lower levels of the mineral.  Magnesium is important for the metabolism of energy and glucose homeostasis.

Researchers at the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University evaluated data from 485 Hispanic and Africa American men and women who participated in the Rosetta Study, which assessed body composition in healthy adults living in New York City between 1990 and 2000.  Participants received physical examinations and underwent scans to measure fat mass and fat free mass.  Fasting serum samples were analyzed for magnesium and glucose.

Approximately 12 percent of the participants were diabetic and 30 percent pre-diabetic as determined by fasting glucose levels.  Hispanic participants had significantly lower levels of magnesium and fat free mass than African Americans.  Although there was no significant difference observed in mean magnesium levels between the pre-diabetic and normal groups, diabetics had levels of the mineral that were significantly lower than that of the normal subjects.

The NHANES 1999-2000 data found that dietary sources of magnesium such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and dairy products were significantly lower in African Americans compared to Caucasians and predominantly Mexican American Hispanics.  The current study found lower levels of magnesium among Hispanics than African Americans, however, the Hispanic population in the study was mainly Puerto Rican, whose dietary habits may vary or who may metabolize the mineral differently.  These data confirm the results shown in other studies of significantly lower levels of serum magnesium among those with fasting glucose levels equivalent to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria for diabetes among racial/ethnic minorities, the authors conclude.

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