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New Study Suggests Higher Magnesium Intake May Reduce Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Eating Peanuts Proven Way to Increase Magnesium in Bloodstream

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec 19, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- New data from the Nurses' Health Study and Harvard School of Public Health suggest that a higher intake of magnesium may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is one of the fastest growing health epidemics in America. The study was published this week in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition(1).

Research has shown that low magnesium intake may impair insulin sensitivity, or function. Consuming adequate levels of magnesium helps insulin function properly in the body, which may prevent type 2 diabetes. The study's authors said, "Because lower fasting insulin concentrations generally reflect greater insulin sensitivity, these findings provide a mechanism through which higher dietary magnesium may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus."

However, less than half of American adults consume recommended levels of magnesium(2). Eating peanuts daily is one easy, proven way to raise blood levels of magnesium. A recent study conducted at Purdue University showed that people with low blood levels of magnesium were able to increase their levels into normal ranges when they ate about three one-ounce servings of peanuts every day(3). The average increase in magnesium was 58 percent compared to baseline levels. Increased levels of blood magnesium help inhibit clogging of the arteries and thereby reduce heart disease risk.

Another recent Harvard study affirms that peanuts and peanut butter may help prevent type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that consuming a half serving (one tablespoon) of peanut butter or a full serving of peanuts or other nuts (an ounce), five or more times a week, is associated with a 21% and 27% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, respectively(4). The researchers reported their findings may stem from the fact that higher intakes of fiber and magnesium and foods with a low glycemic index have been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in several prospective studies(5)(6).

It is possible to reach the Daily Value for magnesium -- 400 milligrams per day -- by eating a variety of whole foods, including legumes such as peanuts, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. One ounce of peanuts and two tablespoons of peanut butter provide 13% and 14% of the Daily Value, respectively(7). Processing affects the amount of magnesium in foods, so slightly processed or unprocessed foods are the best choices -- another reason peanuts and commercial peanut butter are good sources of magnesium and many other beneficial nutrients important for health.

In addition to containing over 75 percent of the "good," unsaturated fat, peanuts and peanut butter provide more protein than any other "nut," including the amino acid arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide, which plays an important role in blood vessel health. Peanuts are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin E, and potassium, all of which are thought to be important for heart health. Furthermore, peanuts contain bioactive components such as antioxidants, resveratrol, and phytosterols, which provide benefits for reducing risk of both heart disease and cancer.

Sprinkle peanuts on your salad or cereal for extra nutrients and crunch, or snack on a handful of peanuts, or dip vegetable and fruit slices into peanut butter.

The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles. For further information and to learn more about peanuts and health, visit

(1) Fung TT, Manson JE, Solomon CG, et al. The association between
magnesium intake and fasting insulin concentration in healthy middle-
aged women. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2003;22:533-

(2) Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of
US adults. Journal of Nutrition. 2003;133:2879-2882.

(3) Alper CM, Mattes RD. Peanut consumption improves indices of
cardiovascular disease risk in healthy adults. Journal of the American
College of Nutrition. 2003;22:133-141.

(4) Jiang R, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, et al. Nut and peanut butter
consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Journal of the
American Medical Association. 2002;288:2554-2560.

(5) Salmeron J, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ et al. Dietary fiber, glycemic
load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women.
Journal of the American Medical Association. 1997;277:472-477.

(6) Salmeron J, Ascherio A, Rimm EB, et al. Dietary fiber, glycemic load,
and risk of NIDDM in men. Diabetes Care. 1997;20:545-550.

(7) USDA Database for Standard Reference, Release 16, July 2003.

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