Testosterone is an essential hormone for men’s health, and magnesium plays a great role in its production. The question is: what's the exact link between magnesium and testosterone?
To find out, let's take a look at their respective functions first.
What is the Role of Testosterone?
Testosterone is widely recognized as the primary male hormone, but women also produce it in small amounts. Usually, testosterone is associated with muscle building and healthy sex drive. It's full scope of functions, however, goes far beyond that.
Good levels of testosterone usually change men’s body fat distribution for the better.
Additionally, it helps the body produce red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs are responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body, so having enough of them is always great to improve oxygen supply throughout your organs.
In terms of attractiveness, being sufficient in testosterone can deepen your voice, improve hair growth, and make your overall appearance more masculine.
Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency
In most men, testosterone production declines with aging. When testosterone levels fall below the normal range, massive health issues inevitably arise.
Testosterone affects a wide range of major bodily functions, so having less of it when you’re supposedly at your prime will cause a significant drop in your body’s performance.
Testosterone deficiency typically manifests through the following signs and symptoms:
A simple change in lifestyle may be enough to improve these symptoms. After all, adding more magnesium to your diet seems to be a fabulous solution!
But why? Are magnesium and testosterone essential for each other?
What are the Health Benefits of Magnesium?
Magnesium plays an important part in more than 600 cellular processes. For example, the mineral is crucial for normal muscle contractions and proper DNA synthesis.
On a more practical note, how else does magnesium help us get by in our daily lives?
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) is an amino acid derivative that mimics the action of glutamate in the nerve cells. Without going into too much detail, this compound is essential for learning and memory. But what has magnesium to do with it? Well, magnesium prevents NMDA receptors from excessive stimulation, which is detrimental to their function.
Without enough magnesium, the brain tends to get needlessly overstimulated in response to trivial matters. Such a reaction may eventually lead to brain damage in some cases.
Other magneisum health benefits include:
So, what happens if your body lacks magnesium on a constant basis?
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms:
Aside from exposing you to various health issues, it seems that low magnesium levels are also strongly linked to low testosterone levels.
How Magnesium Deficiency Affects Testosterone
Magnesium is essential for the body to produce hormones properly. Without it, your endocrine system will be thrown out of whack, leading to severe hormonal imbalance.
Notice that stress and sleep issues are among the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. In contrast, the presence of magnesium can improve your mood and your sleep quality.
Apparently, this is because magnesium has relaxing properties that can help induce better sleep. Stress, on the other hand, flushes out magnesium from the body.
From an evolutionary perspective, this seems to make perfect sense.
When our ancestors detected a threat, stress hormones (like cortisol) were released to keep them awake and alert for the fight. After all, it wasn’t the best time to relax, so the sleep-aiding magnesium had to be flushed out of the way for them to be on their feet and defend themselves.
Our lives today may no longer be threatened by predators in the wild, but we remain at war with other sorts of stressors. Poor working conditions, unhealthy relationships, unstable financial states, etc. No wonder our magnesium levels are being taken up.
Additionally, the stress hormone cortisol is also inversely related to testosterone levels.
Of course, stress is not the only thing that's draining magnesium from us these days. For example, there’s also excess sugar intake. Sugar makes our kidneys work harder to get rid of it. In the process, the body also clears out some magnesium along with those excess sugars.
Long story short, when the body is in a state of sub-optimal magnesium metabolism, everything that benefits from its presence inevitably suffers.
Since magnesium is necessary to maintain hormonal balance, it now becomes clear why testosterone deficiency is strongly associated with magnesium deficiency.
Can Magnesium Boost Testosterone?
If one of the main causes of low testosterone is magnesium deficiency, then yes, increasing magnesium intake can definitely help. While getting it through a healthy diet is always a better approach, taking multivitamins with magnesium can also be a good start.
On the other hand, it may not be an effective solution if your testosterone deficiency isn’t due to your low magnesium levels. Thus, if you are suffering from low testosterone levels while your magnesium levels are normal, then you need to look at other factors to solve your low testosterone issue.
Magnesium and the Testosterone Levels of Active and Sedentary Subjects
This study illustrates how magnesium and lifestyle can both improve testosterone levels. The research went on for four weeks, and it involved magnesium supplementation and exercise (or the lack of it).
The participants were divided into three groups:
- The control group consisted of sedentary participants given 10 mg of magnesium per kg of body weight daily
- Group 2 included taekwondo athletes with 1.5 to 2 hours training per day given 10 mg of magnesium per kg of body weight daily
- Group 3 consisted of taekwondo athletes with 1.5 to 2 hours training per day that got no magnesium supplements
Magnesium, Testosterone, and Physical Function
This research, on the other hand, attempted to discover the link between magnesium and testosterone bioactivity in men. In young and active individuals, magnesium deficiency has been identified as a limiting factor in one's physical performance.
Low magnesium levels have also been found to reduce elderly individuals’ physical capabilities. This finding then led to the rationale that magnesium supplementation helps if you are constantly subjecting yourself to intense endurance routines.
Although the aging process can be partly catalyzed by the deficiency of anabolic hormones like testosterone, as well as poor levels of fitness and diet quality, the role of micronutrients like magnesium also cannot be denied.
Males with testosterone and magnesium deficiency seemed to all have benefited from magnesium treatment.
The Bigger Picture: Magnesium and Testosterone
Inadequate amounts of magnesium can bring a whole lot of bodily functions down, and that includes the production of testosterone. When there's too much cortisol for the body to handle, the metabolism of important nutrients and the production of essential hormones are two things that suffer a lot.
Magnesium Sources and Supplements
Low magnesium levels are a huge risk factor for developing low testosterone levels. Hence, increasing magnesium intake can help improve testosterone availability and activity by a significant amount.
The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 400 mg for men ages 19 to 30 and 420 mg for men ages 31 and up. Foods that are high in magnesium include:
Sometimes, it's still hard to meet your magnesium needs through diet and lifestyle alone. That’s when magnesium supplements enter the stage.
The most common option is a standalone magnesium supplement for those who need only this specific mineral. On the other hand, you might also consider taking a single pill with several proven testosterone boosters, including magnesium.
It is worth noting, however, that supplements are not meant to replace a good diet. They are merely there to help add to the magnesium you get from food.
Conclusion: Magnesium as an Overall Health Booster
Stressors are major culprits in both magnesium and testosterone deficiency. Magnesium may somewhat boost testosterone levels in men who are deficient in the mineral. Additionally, magnesium has a lot of extra benefits for general health, so make sure to get your daily share of this nutrient either from dietary sources or high-quality magnesium supplements.