Magnesium is up there as one of the most important nutrients for vibrant health and wellbeing. More than 300 biochemical reactions in the body use magnesium. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant element in the human body and the second most abundant positively charged ion within human cells after potassium.
Magnesium is essential for healthy bones, heart tissue and brain cells. A healthy intake of magnesium produces energy, reduces stress, eases pain and relaxes muscles. It also helps to promote restful sleep, generate adenosine triphosphate, reduce insomnia and, importantly for men, boost testosterone levels.
You may have a magnesium deficiency if you have a health condition such as type 2 diabetes, follow a poor diet, or regularly take prescription medications such as diuretics or antibiotics. While diagnosing magnesium deficiency is not straightforward as it tends to occur with other micronutrient deficiencies, there are some telltale signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscular weakness, muscular spasms, cramps, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and weight loss. People with a magnesium deficiency can experience loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms and migraine headaches. Chronic deficiencies of magnesium can result in seizure, diabetes, personality changes and increased risk of osteoporosis and anemia. In fact, magnesium deficiency affects just about every system of the body.
How magnesium boosts testosterone (the studies)
When it comes to good health and wellbeing, magnesium is the “miracle mineral”. This is amply true for men. Reason being is that magnesium plays an important role in increasing testosterone levels and there isn’t a more important sex hormone in men than testosterone.
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males and one of the most important androgens in humans. Testosterone plays a crucial role in promoting physical and mental health, especially in men.
As such, if we want to maintain optimal levels of testosterone then it’s important we have a healthy diet and lifestyle conducive to producing this hormone. And one of the simplest ways we can achieve this is to get an adequate intake of magnesium.
Research has shown magnesium to be a very effective nutrient for boosting testosterone levels.
A 2011 study that investigated the effects of four weeks of magnesium supplementation and exercise on testosterone levels among sports people and sedentary controls showed supplementation with magnesium increased free and total testosterone values in both groups. Interestingly, the researchers found that the increases in testosterone were higher in those who exercised than in sedentary individuals.
The effects of magnesium on testosterone levels have also been seen in older men. A study in 2011 showed magnesium levels were strongly and positively associated with testosterone and Insulin-like growth factor 1 among 455 randomly selected men 65 years of age and over.
Researchers in this 2014 review on the interplay between magnesium and testosterone in men, which was published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, were clearly satisfied with the effects of magnesium on testosterone demonstrated in the studies they reviewed. The authors said “there is evidence that magnesium exerts a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including Testosterone, in men.” The researchers concluded that men with low levels of micronutrients and testosterone could benefit from taking magnesium.
An earlier study from 1992 investigated the effects of dietary magnesium on strength development during a double-blind, strength training program in 26 untrained men between 18 and 30 years of age. There were significant strength increases in the group who took magnesium supplements compared to the controlled group. While the researchers didn’t measure testosterone, the study nonetheless suggests that magnesium supplementation had a positive effect on testosterone.
Other health benefits of magnesium
An adequate intake of magnesium yields many health benefits. Further to the aforementioned benefits, magnesium improves insulin sensitivity, boosts the immune system and aids in the digestion of food and absorption of vitamins and other nutrients. Magnesium serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis, is a precursor to serotonin production, and plays a crucial role in the metabolism of macronutrients such as protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Magnesium is a key nutrient in the prevention of many diseases. Magnesium helps reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, dementia, kidney stones, stroke and osteoporosis.
Magnesium also helps to maintain hormone balance by freeing up testosterone and regulating, or otherwise lowering, the stress hormone cortisol. This is important for guys looking for increased performance and recovery. Indeed some of the reasons athletes use magnesium is to increase their energy, endurance and strength levels.
So how important is magnesium? Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, a prolific writer and author of medical and health-related books, offers this explanation:
“Magnesium is by far the most important mineral in the body. After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies, vitally important yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it.”
It goes without saying that getting enough dietary magnesium is essential if we want to have good health. Adults require about 300 mgs to 400 mgs a day. Some food sources rich in magnesium include whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes, avocado, yoghurt, bananas and green leafy vegetables. If your testosterone levels are low you could support your diet with a magnesium supplement, the recommended dose is between 200 mg to 400 mg each day.