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Magnesium May Help Blood Sugar Problem

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Q. I have reactive hypoglycemia. Though doctors didn't help, a nutritionist did. Eating smaller, more frequent meals of protein and healthy fats, easy on carbs, seems to avert my hypoglycemic symptoms most of the time.

My nutritionist recommends a daily dose (250 mg) of magnesium for better results. I would rather not take any pills. Is there medical evidence on magnesium helping to regulate blood sugar?

A. Although your problem is blood sugar going too low rather than too high, research suggests that magnesium helps control blood glucose and insulin (Medical Science Monitor, June, 2010). In a 20-year study of nearly 5,000 people, those consuming the most magnesium in their diets were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes (Diabetes Care, online Aug. 31, 2010).

People with kidney disease should avoid excess magnesium, but others can usually tolerate supplements up to 300 mg a day without side effects. Magnesium is found in whole grains, nuts, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables.

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I have been thinking of taking Magnesium. Would Milk of Magnesia be an acceptable source? Whenever I take pills I wonder if they have actually been digested. 250 mg sounds like a pretty low dose.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MILK OF MAGNESIA IS SOLD AS A LAXATIVE FOR A REASON. UNLESS THAT IS THE RESULT YOU WANT, WE DON'T RECOMMEND IT AS A SOURCE OF MAGNESIUM. TO GET 250 MG OF MAGNESIUM, YOU WOULD NEED ONE-HALF TABLESPOON.

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