Effects of Magnesium Deficiency on Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes: Focusing on the Processes of Insulin Secretion and Signaling

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Mar 18;20(6):1351. doi: 10.3390/ijms20061351.


Magnesium (Mg2+) is an essential mineral for human health and plays an important role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and insulin actions. Despite the widespread clinical evidences for the association of Mg2+ deficiency (MgD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), molecular mechanisms by which Mg2+ contributes to insulin resistance (IR) are still under discussion. Mg2+ regulates electrical activity and insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells. Intracellular Mg2+ concentrations are critical for the phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and other downstream signal kinases of the target cells. Low Mg2+ levels result in a defective tyrosine kinase activity, post-receptor impairment in insulin action, altered cellular glucose transport, and decreased cellular glucose utilization, which promotes peripheral IR in T2D. MgD triggers chronic systemic inflammation that also potentiates IR. People with T2D may end up in a vicious circle in which MgD increases IR and IR causes MgD, that requires periodic monitoring of serum Mg2+ levels.

Keywords: insulin resistance; insulin secretion; insulin signaling; magnesium deficiency; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulin Secretion*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / complications*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / pathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction*