There is a connection between magnesium intake and metabolic syndrome,depression and physical activity in elderly people with type 2 diabetes,according to a study from Taiwan, published in the Nutrition Journal.
The term metabolic syndrome, adisease of the modern times, is generally referred to a group of conditionsviz. obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. One common feature in patients withany or all of these conditions is the deficiency of magnesium. Earlier studieshave found that low serum magnesium levels are associated with a higherprevalence of the metabolic abnormalities.
Magnesium has a number ofphysiological functions in the body. It is required in higher quantities duringsports, workouts and other physical activities, or when sweating profusely sinceit affects oxygen uptake, energy production and electrolyte balance with regardto muscle function. In fact, dysfunction of all these three factors due todeficiency of magnesium is associated with chronic diseases including diabetes,hypertension and lipid abnormalities.
Low magnesium levels are alsoassociated with depression and studies have shown that magnesiumsupplementation is effective in treating depression in elderly people withdiabetes.
Considering the fact that type-2 diabetes is a global healthproblem increasingly seen in the elderly people, assessment of magnesium statusis important for determining the association of magnesium with diabetes,metabolic control and cardiovascular disease.
So, Jui-Hua Huang from Fu-Jen Catholic University, NewTaipei City, Taiwan, and colleagues, conducted a study to investigate magnesiumstatus in aging type-2 diabetics and its relationship to metabolic control,depression and physical activity.
They recruited 210 diabetic patients (98 men and 112women) aged 65 years and above from a rural area of central Taiwan. Informationon lifestyle and 24-hour dietary recall was collected through interview ofthese patients. Depression was assessed based on DSM-IV criteria. Anthropometricmeasurements, including height, weight, blood pressure, waist circumference,and body fat percentage were taken, and biochemical determinations of blood andurine samples were done. The relationships of magnesium intake with nutritionalvariables and metabolic parameters were determined through linear regression.
The study results
suggested that -
88.6 percent of elderly type 2 study subjects had low magnesium intake.
About one-third of the subjects had hypomagnesemia.
Depression was seen in subjects with low magnesium intake.
Magnesium intake was associated with high physical activity. However, people with high physical activity displayed lower serum magnesium levels than those of the moderate physical activity.
Lower magnesium intake was associated with metabolic syndrome biomarkers such as HDL, triglyceride, BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference.
Magnesium intake was inversely proportional to systolic and diastolic blood pressure marginally.
A lower intake of magnesium intake was associated with low energy and protein intake.
The investigators suggested that 'Increased magnesiumintake may improve metabolic control in patients with metabolic syndromes'.
An interesting finding of this study is thenon-co-relation of serum magnesium with total magnesium intake. Theinvestigators found that although 89 percent of the subjects had a magnesiumintake of less than recommended values, the prevalence of hypomagnesaemia wasonly 37 percent. This goes to show that 'serum magnesium may not be a goodmarker and may be inaccurate to correlates with magnesium status', according tothe authors.
The researchers also found that risk of hypomagnesemiaincreases in subjects with high intensity physical activity and low magnesiumintake. So, they advised elderly diabetes patients with high physical activitybut low serum magnesium, to increase magnesium intake through magnesiumsupplementation or dietary magnesium.
Despite certain limitations to the study, the authorsconfidently concluded that 'Majority of elderly diabetes patients have lowmagnesium intake and may exacerbate metabolic abnormalities and depression.Clinical care should therefore focus on increasing dietary magnesium intake ormagnesium supplementation to improve metabolic control, depression, andphysical performance in elderly diabetes patients'.
Reference: Huang, J-H, et. al. Correlation of magnesium intakewith metabolic parameters, depression and physical activity in elderly type 2diabetes patients: a cross-sectional study. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:41doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-41