T1D Living

The Magnesium & T1D Connection

Magnesium & Type 1 Diabetes

Magnesium is essential for over 300 reactions in the human body. As an essential nutrient, being deficient in magnesium can be extremely detrimental to your overall health. And if you’re a type 1 diabetic or a person with an autoimmune disease, you’ve likely been deficient in it for some time now.

Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous & cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency.


Magnesium, Where You At?

In general, magnesium has become less abundant and incredibly hard to absorb. Between modern farming methods, heavy pesticide use, fluoridated water, high sugar diets, processed foods, birth control pills, and other pharmaceutical drugs, even if you were able to ingest a decent amount of magnesium the odds of you being able to absorb it are fairly low due to the reasons stated above. And that’s just the average person. Throw type 1 diabetes in the mix and we just went from a David problem to a Goliath problem.

Type 1 Diabetes Actively Depletes Magnesium Levels

  1. High Sugar: It takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolize a SINGLE glucose molecule! (source).
  2. Lack of sleep: Getting a good night’s rest is a rare commodity in the T1D world. Between setting alarms, waking up from dex/pump alerts, or excessive middle of the night bathroom breaks, solid sleep is hard to come by. How to do you pay for a bad night’s sleep? Two words: magnesium dollars.
  3. Stress: Stress is a magnesium vacuum and having type 1 diabetes (or any autoimmune disease) is extremely stressful on the body (both physically and mentally).
  4. Icing on the cake: Having low levels of magnesium contributes to inflammation in the body, which contributes to autoimmune diseases. (source) Literally the LAST thing we need.


How to Tell If You’re Deficient

Blood tests aren’t super accurate at detecting a deficiency because only 1% of your body’s magnesium levels reside in the blood stream. A better test is to look at your symptoms. If you google symptoms there are about 20+ symptoms. Rule of thumb is if you have 5 or more you’re likely deficient. Some of the more common symptoms (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Anxiety
  • Carbohydrate & salt cravings
  • Constipation
  • Frequent Cavities
  • Hard time focusing (mentally)
  • Hard time sleeping
  • Heart “flutters”
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle soreness
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor memory
  • Sensitive to noise

Oh Sh*t, I May Be Deficient

Now before you start ordering magnesium supplements off Amazon you should know that magnesium isn’t well absorbed in the digestive tract, especially if you have gut issues or have sub par levels of good gut bacteria (cough-cough everyone with an autoimmune disease). Experts estimate that only 20-50% of magnesium supplements taken orally get absorbed. Low levels of vitamin D (which is another nutrient that most people with an autoimmune disease are deficient in) also hinders absorption of magnesium.


So How Do I Get Magnesium?

I see the best results when I bypass the digestive system entirely, since us autoimmune’ies have a massive roadblock there. I apply magnesium topically; using it on the skin with either a lotion or oil. This is also the safest way because the body will only absorb what it needs.

For the past few years I have been using homemade magnesium oil spray. Every night before bed I spray 15-20 sprays on my skin. I do it at night because it can feel sticky, like ocean sticky, and I don’t notice it as much when I’m laying in bed.

I like to use magnesium chloride because I find it less irritating on the skin and highly absorbable (more so than magnesium sulfate – epsom salt – which, still is very absorbable through the skin). When my magnesium levels are low I do notice a slight tingling sensation on the areas sprayed. If the tingling is too much, add more water until you become more sufficient in your magnesium stores.

DIY Magnesium Oil Body Spray

Homemade Magnesium Oil Spray



  1. Boil water
  2. Once boiling, remove from heat and add magnesoum chloride flakes.
  3. Stirr until flakes are compeltly disolved.
  4. Allow to cool completely before pouring into spray bottle.


Store at room temperature. Will keep for 2-3 months. 6-8 months if using distilled water.

Other topical ways to get magnesium

  1. Love taking baths? Epsom salt baths (Which are magnesium sulfate) are wonderful way to absorb magnesium topically.
  2. Live near the ocean? Sea water is another great way to absorb magnesium and trace minerals though the skin.



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Leave A Comment

  1. Stephanie August 8, 2017 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this info re magnesium I’ve been taking it and not reaping the surposed befits I will try the spray ! Loving your blog ! X

    • T1D Living August 21, 2017 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Thanks Stephanie! You will love the spray!

  2. Leo Tat August 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    I find that magnesium oil spray causes my skin extremely itchy. I may be allergic to it. So I take magnesium in capsule form. My wife had many years struggling with regularity. We tried different treatments like fiber, drinking more water, etc. The only thing that made her better was taking high doses of magnesium. She does not have to take magnesium every day to be regular now, which makes me think she could have been deficient before.

    • T1D Living August 21, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

      It only itches/tingles for me when I’m deficient. Sometimes I add more water to my spray and slowly build up to an equal parts solution. If you think it’s an allergy tho, best to use caution.

  3. Abby Keuhn March 3, 2018 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Since I’ve started a keto diet, I’ve been taking magnesium and learning more about it. Recently, I’ve got my husband taking magnesium as he type 1 ( he’s not doing keto). I got the glycinate form of mag for both of us. Have you ever tried that form? If so, did you notice a difference?

    • T1D Living March 6, 2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

      Yes 🙂 when I was taking it orally that was the form I used since it’s the most bioavailable out of all the oral forms. I personally prefer taking it topically tho because I find that it absorbs better. Plus I like knowing that my skin will only absorb what it needs, making it impossibly to go overboard.

  4. Jonas March 8, 2018 at 2:49 am - Reply

    Healthline.com states that certain people should not take magnesium, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions. This includes those who have:

    diabetes, as poorly controlled diabetes can affect how magnesium is stored in the body

    It should seem then that we should supplement with it like your article says, what’s your take on this?

    Also the Magnesium Citrate pills that I use has a serving size of 400mg per 3 capsules where I originally was recommended going 600-800mg a day. Does applying topically come close to these numbers at all?

    • T1D Living March 8, 2018 at 8:05 am - Reply

      I would think that what they mean by that is, since high blood sugar eats up your magnesium stores it would be hard to gauge how much magnesium is currently being stored in your body and how much you need to supplement with (if you had “poorly controlled diabetes“). Making it tricky to dose it properly. That’s why I love taking it topically because your body only absorbs what it needs. I’m not sure about the exact mg dosing conversion from oral to topical, but I have noticed that when I am deficient the topical magnesium will feel tingly on the skin (because my body is sucking in the salt through my pores), and when I have sufficient stores I won’t feel the tingling. Not sure if that helps any, but that’s how I gauge it.

  5. Tione December 4, 2019 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Hi. I have noticed my BS is dropping entirely more often since I started using topical magnesium. I’m a T1D on a pump and I’m thinking I may need to adjust my settings as I’m having around 5 lows per day now. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • T1D Living January 3, 2020 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      That’s awesome that it’s making you more insulin sensitive! Shitty about all the lows tho! And it makes sense that your body is more receptive to insulin now that it has the optimal amount of magnesium.

  6. Fitoru Fitness April 25, 2020 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    This is the first time I read your posting and I loved it very much.I wonder if I can continue receiving them on regular basis.

  7. Fitoru Fitness April 28, 2020 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful and it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  8. […] I personally choose to take magnesium topically vs orally. To get my magnesium spray recipe (and to learn a little more about the T1D & magnesium connectio…. […]

  9. […] – You can read all about the importance of magnesium for people with T1D in my article here. There is an even higher demand for it when we’re sick and dealing with high blood sugars. […]

  10. […] is also loaded with vitamin C and considered to be a good source of Vitamin K, magnesium (see why magnesium is really important for people with T1D here), B vitamins, folate, potassium, and manganese. Pasture Raised Eggs are an excellent source of […]

  11. […] source of magnesium. Magnesium is a super important mineral for anyone with an autoimmune disease. Read my post about magnesium and autoimmunity here. I like to use the Sunbutter […]

  12. […] it here). Since magnesium is best absorbed topically, I like to either make my own magnesium spray (get my DIY recipe here) or I buy magnesium lotion (this is the brand I […]

  13. […] source of magnesium. Magnesium is a super important mineral for anyone with an autoimmune disease. Read my post about magnesium and autoimmunity here. I like to use the Sunbutter […]

  14. […] source of magnesium. Magnesium is a super important mineral for anyone with an autoimmune disease. Read my post about magnesium and autoimmunity here. I like to use the Sunbutter […]

  15. Kelci May 5, 2022 at 7:06 am - Reply

    We are sticking with magnesium pills. I have a T1D daughter so I ordered this brand, followed the directions and it burned my entire family. I was super excited so as soon as it was cool and ready to used I sprayed it on all four of us (I should have tested it first). It just made my fiancé and oldest daughter itch super super bad, but it left actual burn marks on me and my son, he was screaming bloody murder within less than a minute of it being sprayed. I don’t know if we got a bad batch of magnesium or what

  16. […] 6. Magnesium […]

  17. […] Magnesium (topically. Here is my recipe for it.) […]

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