Down with diabetes

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Magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes — especially in the overweight — say two new studies. And you may want to wash down those magnesium caplets with a coffee, according to a third study.

Harvard School of Public Health researchers evaluated the diets of 85,000 women and 42,000 men, using data supplied over 18 years. Those getting the most magnesium were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Another Harvard team, in conjunction with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found overweight women consuming the most magnesium 22 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

A third study links longterm, heavy coffee drinking with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This research — involving 125,000 men and women and spanning 15 years — was published in the January 2004 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. This confirms Dutch study results reported in the November 9, 2002 issue of The Lancet.

Both Harvard studies recommended that people at risk for diabetes eat a high-magnesium diet. Both appeared in the January 2004 issue of Diabetes Care.

In developed countries, diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of blindness in adults. Magnesium is found in whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables and of course, in magnesium supplements.

Many diabetics eating magnesium-rich foods still test magnesium-deficient. For this reason, magnesium supplements may be the best way to replete the body's stores — taken with or without coffee.

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