Objective: To discuss the potential link between diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypomagnesemia, the methods used to assess magnesium status, and the potential benefits of magnesium repletion in hypomagnesemic patients with DM.
Data sources: A MEDLINE search (key terms: magnesium and diabetes) was conducted to identify pertinent literature.
Study selection: All major clinical trials and most published case reports were reviewed.
Synthesis: Several studies have demonstrated a higher than expected frequency of magnesium deficiency in patients with DM. Hypomagnesemia may play a role in the development of retinopathy, altered glucose disposition, hypertension, abnormal platelet function, and other problems frequently observed in patients with DM. The lack of a widely available, accurate screening methodology is one of the main problems in assessing total body magnesium status. One study has suggested that hypomagnesemia in patients with DM may be related to enhanced urinary loss of magnesium. Several studies evaluating hypomagnesemia and glucose disposal have suggested a direct correlation between magnesium concentration and glucose disposal, with an improvement in glucose disposal with magnesium supplementation. It has been suggested that there is a relationship between hypomagnesemia and diabetic retinopathy; however, the effect of magnesium supplementation on the development of diabetic retinopathy has not been evaluated. Researchers evaluating the effect of magnesium on platelet aggregation have suggested that magnesium supplementation may reduce the incidence of vascular disease in hypomagnesemic patients with DM. Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between hypomagnesemia and hypertension.
Conclusions: Studies have suggested a link between hypomagnesemia and hyperglycemia, as well as an association between hypomagnesemia and the complications of DM. The American Diabetes Association has published a consensus statement suggesting that patients who have documented hypomagnesemia and DM receive magnesium supplementation.