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Keywords:

  • cohort studies;
  • diabetes;
  • magnesium;
  • meta-analysis

Abstract.

Objective.  To assess the association between magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes.

Design.  Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

Data Sources.  We retrieved studies published in any language by systematically searching MEDLINE from 1966 to February 2007 and by manually examining the references of the original articles.

Study Selection.  We included prospective cohort studies reporting relative risks with 95% confidence intervals for the association between magnesium intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Results.  The seven identified cohort studies of magnesium intake [from foods only (= 4) or from foods and supplements combined (= 3)] and incidence of type 2 diabetes included 286 668 participants and 10 912 cases. All but one study found an inverse relation between magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes, and in four studies the association was statistically significant. The overall relative risk for a 100 mg day−1 increase in magnesium intake was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.79–0.92). Results were similar for intake of dietary magnesium (RR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77–0.95) and total magnesium (RR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.77–0.89). There was no evidence of publication bias (= 0.99).

Conclusions.  Magnesium intake was inversely associated with incidence of type 2 diabetes. This finding suggests that increased consumption of magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, beans, nuts, and green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.