Research Article

Fasting plasma magnesium concentrations and glucose disposal in diabetes.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 07 April 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1032
  1. C S Yajnik,
  2. R F Smith,
  3. T D Hockaday,
  4. N I Ward


    Fasting plasma concentrations of magnesium were measured by neutron activation analysis in 30 non-diabetics and 87 diabetics (55 non-insulin-treated, 32 insulin treated). Plasma concentrations of magnesium were lowest in the insulin treated group (mean 0.84 (SEM 0.01) mmol/1; 2.0 (0.02) mg/100 ml), intermediate in the non-diabetics (mean 0.89 (SEM 0.01) mmol/1; 2.2 (0.02) mg/100 ml), and highest in the non-insulin-treated diabetics (mean 0.95 (SEM 0.02) mmol/1; 2.3 (0.05) mg/100 ml). In all diabetics plasma magnesium concentrations were inversely related to plasma glucose values (rs = -0.33; p less than 0.01) and in non-insulin-treated patients to plasma insulin concentrations (rs = -0.28; p less than 0.05), the former confirming previous observations. In 67 of the diabetics the KG constant for disposal rate of glucose during a standard intravenous glucose tolerance test was directly related to fasting plasma magnesium concentrations, and this relation persisted after controlling for age, sex, body mass index, type of treatment, and glucose and insulin values. This direct relation of plasma magnesium concentration with glucose disposal was unexplained by its influence on insulin secretion but was related to insulin sensitivity; hence magnesium may be an important determinant of insulin sensitivity in maturity onset diabetes.