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Magnesium May Help Blood Sugar Problem

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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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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