Metabolic syndrome means you have abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol and high blood pressure, and are high risk for diabetes and heart attacks. It is caused by an inability to respond adequately to insulin. A study from the National Cholesterol Education Program shows that people who are on a diet that is low in magnesium are the ones most likely to suffer metabolic syndrome. ( Obesity , Volume 15, 2007).
Nobody really knows why low levels of magnesium prevent cells from responding to insulin. A leading theory is that magnesium is necessary for insulin to act after it attaches to insulin receptors on cells. Before insulin can do its job of driving sugar into cells, it must first attach to special hooks called insulin receptors on the surface of cells. Then it moves sugar into cells by activating an enzyme called tyrosine-kinase. Magnesium is necessary for this reaction to occur.
Another interpretation of this study could be that magnesium deficiency is only an indicator of a very unhealthful dietary pattern that is most likely to cause metabolic syndrome. Since virtually all parts of plants and the animals that eat them contain magnesium, a diet low in magnesium would have to be based on large amounts of white flour, sugar and other highly refined and processed foods. These are also the foods that cause the highest rise in blood sugar. Free weekly newsletter ; more on metabolic syndrome