The epidemiological evidence for a dose-response relationship between magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is sparse. The aim of the study was to summarize the evidence for the association of dietary magnesium intake with risk of T2D and evaluate the dose-response relationship. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies that reported dietary magnesium intake and risk of incident T2D. We identified relevant studies by searching major scientific literature databases and grey literature resources from their inception to February 2016. We included cohort studies that provided risk ratios, i.e., relative risks (RRs), odds ratios (ORs) or hazard ratios (HRs), for T2D. Linear dose-response relationships were assessed using random-effects meta-regression. Potential nonlinear associations were evaluated using restricted cubic splines. A total of 25 studies met the eligibility criteria. These studies comprised 637,922 individuals including 26,828 with a T2D diagnosis. Compared with the lowest magnesium consumption group in the population, the risk of T2D was reduced by 17% across all the studies; 19% in women and 16% in men. A statistically significant linear dose-response relationship was found between incremental magnesium intake and T2D risk. After adjusting for age and body mass index, the risk of T2D incidence was reduced by 8%-13% for per 100 mg/day increment in dietary magnesium intake. There was no evidence to support a nonlinear dose-response relationship between dietary magnesium intake and T2D risk. The combined data supports a role for magnesium in reducing risk of T2D, with a statistically significant linear dose-response pattern within the reference dose range of dietary intake among Asian and US populations. The evidence from Europe and black people is limited and more prospective studies are needed for the two subgroups.
Keywords: cohort study; dietary intake; magnesium; meta-analysis; prospective study; type 2 diabetes.