The serum mineral levels, glucose disappearance rate (kg), total area under the glucose (DeltaG) and insulin (DeltaI) curves, and static insulin secretion were compared among rats fed a Mg-deficient diet for 6 (DF-6) or 11 (DF-11) weeks, and rats fed a control diet for the same periods (CO-6 and CO-11 groups). No change in glucose homeostasis was observed among DF-6, CO-6 and CO-11 rats. DF-11 rats showed an elevated kg and a reduced DeltaG and DeltaI. For evaluating the effect of supplementation, rats fed a control or Mg-deficient diet for 6 weeks were then fed a Mg- supplemented diet for 5 weeks (SCO and SDF groups respectively). The serum Mg levels in SDF rats were similar to those in CO-11 and SCO rats, but higher than in the DF-11 group. SDF rats showed similar kg, DeltaG and DeltaI compared with the CO-11 and SCO groups. However, a significantly lower kg and higher DeltaG and DeltaI were observed in SDF compared with DF-11 rats. Basal and 8.3 mmol glucose/l-stimulated insulin secretion by islets from DF-11 rats were higher than by islets from CO-11 rats. These results indicate that moderate Mg depletion for a long period may increase the secretion and sensitivity to insulin, while Mg supplementation in formerly Mg-deficient rats may prevent the increase in sensitivity and secretion of insulin.