How many of you heard of magnesium helping with anxiety, sleep, depression, even headaches or pain, but not too often do we hear about blood sugar being thrown in there, right?
Magnesium has close to over 700 different enzymatic processes in the body making it one of the most important minerals we need in order to simply function. From energy production, to hormone balancing, digestion and even detoxification, magnesium is most likely involved, and today we wanted to go into a deep dive on as to how it can help with managing blood sugar.
Firstly, let's understand how blood sugar works.
When we eat, typically carbohydrates of any sort (fruits, vegetables, starches), they are digested into glucose in which would then signal to our pancreas it must secrete insulin to allow glucose into the cell. Our cells prefer to run off of glucose because it is easier for them to synthesize energy in comparison to ketones that come from fat. Our blood sugar naturally rises after a meal because we have just ingested actual food matter. Makes sense, right? Considering we have just eaten and broken down what we have eaten into glucose. Once insulin opens up those cells to let glucose in, our blood sugar naturally drops for we either decide to use the glucose as energy or store it for later when we need extra energy. Blood sugar will only drop if we have not eaten enough or run out of easily available free flowing glucose in the blood. This is a healthy functioning response to blood sugar.
Now, what happens with individuals constantly struggling high or low blood sugar, potentially emulating insulin resistance or hypoglycemia?
Insulin resistance is when the cells in our muscles, fat and liver don't respond to insulin, not allowing glucose to enter in the cell and elevating one's blood sugar. Think of insulin as the key to unlock our cells for glucose to enter so they can get their energy. As our blood sugar rises, our bodies panic and tell our pancreas to secrete even more insulin in sending a stronger signal to the cells. This is because too much circulating glucose in the blood is taxing on the system. Eventually, if the communication between the cells and the hormone insulin doesn't work, the body starts to store glucose as extra energy, particularly in our fat cells, since it doesn't know what to do with it.
On the flip side, individuals who struggle with chronic low blood sugar don't necessarily struggle with an insulin issue, but rather an energy issue where the body is burning through glucose at such a rapid pace because it feels like it's in danger. In a way, there is nothing "caping" glucose in the cell.
Question now is just WHY could this be happening in the first place. Well, there are a number of reasons why this could occur, but one of them is that one could be magnesium deficient. Of the many functions magnesium has is that it actually sensitizes one's insulin receptors at the cellular level, allowing insulin to direct the cell in absorbing glucose. Without this sensitization, the cells don't know if insulin should be influencing them or not. Conversely, in relation to hypoglycemia, magnesium is a calming mineral, and should technically help support an over active system. However, in many cases, especially with those with chronically low blood sugar, they have sufficient magnesium, but their body cannot utilize appropriately as it is leaking out of the tissues.
Now you may thinking, "But I don't have diabetes, do I really need to worry about my blood sugar anyway?" The answer is yes. Blood sugar dysregulation can happen at any age and we can even see early progressions of blood sugar issues by just looking to the Calcium:Magnesium (Ca:Mg) ratio on a hair test.
Our Ca:Mg ratio is representative of our blood sugar and how our body is using glucose accordingly. Calcium is required to signal to the pancreas to secrete insulin in the first place, whereas magnesium plays a role in glucose control and insulin metabolism at the cell. When one has a high Ca:Mg ratio, this could mean two things: they either have high calcium levels sending a signal to the pancreas it needs high levels of insulin, possibly a high carbohydrate diet is present, or one is magnesium deficient leading to insulin resistance. On the flip side, if the Ca:Mg ratio is low, this could mean the individual is calcium deficient or one has high levels of magnesium but not capable of actually retaining the mineral itself inside the cell, thus leading to chronically low blood sugar.
This is why it is so important to run an HTMA test prior to supplementation, but this is also very telling on the powers of magnesium and its several mechanisms. Taking something as simple as our Upgraded Magnesium could potentially be the answer to your blood sugar problems and something to consider!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach