A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control

Pharmacol Res. 2016 Sep;111:272-282. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.06.019. Epub 2016 Jun 18.


A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the effect of oral magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control in both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals. PubMed-Medline, SCOPUS, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases were searched (from inception to November 25, 2015) to identify RCTs evaluating the effect of magnesium on insulin sensitivity and glucose control. A random-effects model and generic inverse variance method were used to compensate for the heterogeneity of studies. Publication bias, sensitivity analysis, and meta-regression assessments were conducted using standard methods. The impact of magnesium supplementation on plasma concentrations of glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin, and HOMA-IR index was assessed in 22, 14, 12 and 10 treatment arms, respectively. A significant effect of magnesium supplementation was observed on HOMA-IR index (WMD: -0.67, 95% CI: -1.20, -0.14, p=0.013) but not on plasma glucose (WMD: -0.20mmol/L, 95% CI: -0.45, 0.05, p=0.119), HbA1c (WMD: 0.018mmol/L, 95% CI: -0.10, 0.13, p=0.756), and insulin (WMD: -2.22mmol/L, 95% CI: -9.62, 5.17, p=0.556). A subgroup analysis comparing magnesium supplementation durations of <4 months versus ≥4 months, exhibited a significant difference for fasting glucose concentrations (p<0.001) and HOMA-IR (p=0.001) in favor of the latter subgroup. Magnesium supplementation for ≥4 months significantly improves the HOMA-IR index and fasting glucose, in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. The present findings suggest that magnesium may be a beneficial supplement in glucose metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Glucose control; Insulin sensitivity; Magnesium; Meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Magnesium