Serum and intracellular magnesium deficiency in patients with metabolic syndrome--evidences for its relation to insulin resistance

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2009 Feb;83(2):257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2008.11.019. Epub 2009 Jan 4.


This cross sectional study evaluated serum (SMg) and intramononuclear (MMg) magnesium in patients with metabolic syndrome without diabetes and correlated them with cardiovascular risk factors. 72 patients and 57 controls (blood donors) were studied. Hypomagnesemia (SMg<1.7 mg/dL) was seen in 23.2% and intracellular depletion in 36.1% of the patients. SMg and MMg means were significantly lower in patients than in controls: 1.80+/-0.18 mg/dL vs. 2.43+/-0.43 mg/dL and 0.98+/-0.55 microg/mg vs. 1.67+/-0.64 microg/mg of protein (P<0.001). Inverse correlation was observed between, SMg and MMg with BMI; SMg with systolic blood pressure and waist circumference in women. Patients with acanthosis nigricans had lower SMg (1.75+/-0.18 mg/dL vs. 1.85+/- 0.18 mg/dL, P<0.05). Non-white people had lower SMg (1.78+/-0.16 mg/dL vs. 1.92+/-0.24 mg/dL, P=0.007) and MMg (0.95+/-0.59 microg/mg vs. 1.13+/-0.42 microg/mg, P=0.03). Patients with IR showed lower MgM means (0.84+/-0.33 microg/mg vs. 1.14+/-0.69 microg/mg, P<0.05). The same occurred in patients with low HDL-c levels (0.92+/-0.46 microg/mg vs. 1.20+/-0.70 microg/mg, P=0.03), and those with moderate and severe hepatic steatosis (0.77+/-0.29 microg/mg vs. 1.21+/-0.80 microg/mg, P<0.05). In conclusion, magnesium depletion in serum and mononuclear cells is common in obese people with metabolic syndrome, and it is more evident in non-white people with insulin resistance. This depletion may contribute to a post-receptor insulin resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Complications / blood
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Complications / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Magnesium Deficiency / blood
  • Magnesium Deficiency / complications
  • Magnesium Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Magnesium