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Low magnesium intake has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in several studies conducted in high-income countries. However, very few studies have been performed in Africa, where many countries have a growing rate of T2DM. We conducted a pilot cross-sectional study among 63 women in Ghana to investigate the association between magnesium intake and glycemic markers. We assessed dietary magnesium using a food frequency questionnaire and glycemic markers using fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Our findings showed that the mean magnesium intake was 200 ± 116 mg/day. The prevalence of T2DM was 5% by measuring fasting blood glucose and 8% by measuring HbA1c. Unadjusted linear regression models revealed that higher magnesium intake significantly predicted higher fasting blood glucose levels (β = 0.31; 95% CI: 0.07, 0.55; p = 0.01) and HbA1c levels (β = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.51; p = 0.04). In adjusted analyses, magnesium intake was no longer significantly associated with either fasting blood glucose levels (β = 0.22; 95% CI: −0.03, 0.46; p = 0.08) or HbA1c levels (β = 0.15; 95% CI: −0.08, 0.39; p = 0.20). In conclusion, our study did not show a significant association between magnesium intake and glycemic markers in women of reproductive age in Ghana. The results of this study need to be further substantiated because this was the first study to examine magnesium intake and glycemic markers in this population in Africa.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Helena J. Bentil, Alyssa M. Abreu, Alison Tovar and Brietta M. Oaks are with the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Joseph S. Rossi is with the Department of Psychology.