May 16, 2007

Fiber and magnesium independently reduce diabetes risk

In a study and meta-analysis published in the May 14, 2007 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine , researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke in Nuthetal found that a higher intake of magnesium and cereal fiber could separately reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Matthias B. Schulze, DrPH and colleagues analyzed data obtained from 9,702 men and 15,365 women between the ages of 35 to 65 years enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam study. Participants completed food dietary questionnaires upon enrollment and were observed for the development of diabetes for an average of seven years. Over the follow-up period, 844 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.

For the meta-analyses, 9 studies of fiber and 8 concerning magnesium and diabetes risk were selected.

Although fiber from fruit and vegetables did not appear to significantly impact diabetes risk in the EPIC study, when the participants' cereal fiber intake was analyzed, those in the top one-fifth of subjects who consumed an average of 17 grams of fiber per day had a 28 percent lower risk of developing the disease than subjects in the lowest fifth whose intake averaged 7 grams. Meta-analysis of the fiber studies found a 33 percent lower risk when participants whose intake was highest were compared with those that were lowest. In EPIC, magnesium intake was not related to diabetes risk, however, the meta-analysis concluded that subjects whose magnesium intake was high experienced a 23 percent lower risk than those with a lower intake.

"In conclusion, the evidence from our study and previous studies, summarized by means of meta-analysis, strongly supports that higher cereal fiber and magnesium intake may decrease diabetes risk," the authors write. "Whole-grain foods are therefore important in diabetes prevention."