The magnesium and calcium needs of Diabetics are as important as those for potassium, which we recently discussed.
While these minerals are important to everyone in some ways, for Diabetics it’s a matter of doing everything you can to keep your condition under control and prevent damage to your organs.
When talking about the magnesium and calcium needs of Diabetics, the first thing to know is that “too much of a good thing” is not the way to go. More is not always better.
Here are some ways these minerals affect not only Diabetes but many other health-related issues.
Magnesium is known as one of the building blocks of life. It’s transported from your blood into your cells by insulin. So, it’s pretty easy to understand how important it is for diabetics.
➡ If you have a magnesium deficiency, you may develop insulin resistance. And, insulin resistance leads to Diabetes, as well as to heart disease.
➡ Because insulin influences how sugar gets into your cells to create energy, a diet that includes the right amount of magnesium can help lower your risk of developing Diabetes and heart disease.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium for adult men is 410 to 420 mg/day and 310 to 320 mg/d for women, depending on your age.
Recent studies show that magnesium levels tend to be lower in people with diabetes.
Other conditions linked to magnesium deficiency include heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension) and **ketoacidosis as well as both calcium and potassium deficiency.
➡ **Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.
Here’s how it all works:
➡ Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells.
➡ Ketoacidosis develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin.
Without enough insulin, your body starts to break down your stored fat to use as fuel.
➡ This, in turn, produces a buildup of acids in the bloodstream…(the “ketones”). If untreated, it leads to diabetic ketoacidosis.
To continue, certain Diabetes medications can raise magnesium levels, such as Pioglitazone (brand name: Actos) and Metformin (common brand name: Glucophage).
How to manage magnesium levels:
➡ Include foods in your diet that have plenty of magnesium, such as almonds, whole grains, and spinach.
➡ Your doctor may recommend taking magnesium supplements to help improve your insulin sensitivity and lower your blood pressure.
Always consult your physician before taking magnesium supplements. Too much magnesium can lead to toxicity.
Symptoms of toxicity include:
➡ Muscle weakness
➡ Hypotension (low blood pressure)
➡ Irregular heartbeats
➡ Urine retention
Although Calcium is often recommended for strong teeth and bones, recent research has shown that too much calcium may lead to cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke.
Despite the societal push to take calcium supplements, it’s important to ask your doctor before you do it, as cardiovascular disease is a major health problem for people with diabetes.
However, the right amount of calcium can have some beneficial effects on insulin resistance.
The recommended dose of calcium is 1200 mg/daily along with 800 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D.
Your body needs vitamin D to absorb the calcium, but you do not need to take vitamin D at the same time as a calcium supplement.
But always talk to your Doctor first.
Of course, you know that it’s always best to get your essential nutrients from foods instead of taking supplements. In addressing the magnesium and calcium needs of Diabetics, the recommendations have not changed:
➡ Eat a well-balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat and fish and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
➡ Include diabetes-friendly foods in your diet to add some flavor and help resist cravings for foods you should avoid.
Magnesium and calcium are linked to the health of your heart and with the proper management of body fluids, as Potassium is.
Remember. too much or too little of these good things can lead to other health complications.
And, for your safety, always speak to your Doctor before adding any medications, supplements or natural remedies to your diet.