Magnesium is actively involved in a number of metabolic reactions as an important co-factor, with special emphasis on carbohydrate metabolism. After a brief overview of the regulation of intra- and extracellular magnesium, the present review first describes the regulatory role of magnesium in important metabolic pathways involved in energy metabolism and glycaemic control. Next the clinical significance of hypomagnesaemic conditions with regard to the management of glucose in prediabetic stages, such as insulin resistance/impaired glucose tolerance and in type 2 diabetes mellitus are characterized. Cross-sectional as well as longitudinal studies suggest that a reduced dietary magnesium intake serves as a risk factor for the incidence of both impaired glucose regulation and type 2 diabetes. Mechanisms that might be responsible for diabetes-associated hypomagnesaemia are discussed. Furthermore, the role of hypomagnesaemia in the development and progression of chronic diabetic complications are addressed. Finally, the available literature on the effects of magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control parameters during prediabetic conditions (preventive approach) as well as type 2 diabetes mellitus (therapeutic approach) are reviewed systematically. There is considerable evidence that chronic magnesium supplementation may delay the progression from impaired glucose regulation to type 2 diabetes; however, the effects of oral magnesium supplementation as an adjunct therapy for type 2 diabetes are quite heterogeneous with respect to the various measures of glycaemic control. The results of this review suggest a requirement for critical consideration of the pros and cons of magnesium replacement therapy, based on variables such as magnesium status, stage of disease and glycaemic control.
Keywords: glycaemic control; hypomagnesaemia; impaired glucose regulation; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes mellitus.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.