Insulin Resistance in Apparently Healthy Adult Nigerians: Association with Magnesium Status

Abdullahi Mohammed, Adamu Hassan


Magnesium plays a critical role in glucose metabolism and evidences suggest that magnesium deficiency is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity. However, it is likely that these relationships are affected by genetic and environmental factors that can differ among different populations. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of insulin resistance and its association with magnesium status among apparently healthy adult Nigerians.

Fasting plasma levels of magnesium, glucose and insulin were determined in 120 apparently healthy adults. Insulin resistance was calculated as HOMA-IR. Prevalence of insulin resistance was estimated and the association between plasma magnesium levels and HOMA-IR was determined.
About 19.2% of the study subjects were classified as having insulin resistance. Prevalence was higher among males compared to females (21.0% vs. 17.0%) and among obese compared to normal weight subjects (26.1% vs. 14.9%). Subjects with hypomagnesemia had higher prevalence of insulin resistance compared with subjects who had normal plasma magnesium levels (50.0% vs. 14.4%). Insulin resistance was inversely associated with plasma magnesium level independent of age, gender and BMI.

Insulin resistance is relatively common among apparently healthy individuals in this study. Magnesium deficiency was found to be a significant predictor of insulin resistance. We recommend further studies that will investigate whether optimization of magnesium status in general population or among individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes will be a useful approach in lowering insulin resistance and prevent or delay onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus in our setting.


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