Raise testosterone and improve your athletic performance by making sure you get enough magnesium. Low magnesium will slow energy metabolism, compromise performance and work capacity, and emerging evidence shows this mineral affects the anabolic/catabolic equilibrium in the body.
A recent study tested how raising magnesium levels affects testosterone in men at rest and after exercise with the following 4-week study design: A group of sedentary men received 10 mg of magnesium/kg/body weight daily (Group 1), a group of male tae kwon do athletes took the same magnesium protocol daily (Group 2), and a group of tae kwon do athletes who acted as a control and did not take magnesium (Group 3).
Results showed a month of taking roughly 750 mg of magnesium daily significantly raised free testosterone in Group 2 at rest by 26 percent. They also experienced an 18 percent increase in testosterone response to a shuttle running test over pre-supplementation values.
Similarly, the sedentary men in Group 1 also increased free testosterone after the shuttle run test by 10 percent, but had no increase at rest. There was much more variability in the testosterone response to exercise of individual subjects in this group than in the two other groups. Researchers don’t speculate why this may be, but one option is that testosterone response to exercise varies greatly among individuals based on overall nutritional status. Certain subjects in Group 1 may still have been low in other nutrients that affect testosterone and endocrine balance in the body.
The physiological mechanism behind the relationship between magnesium and testosterone is thought to be related to an increase in oxidative stress in the body due to low magnesium that creates a pro-inflammatory state. Levels of testosterone and another anabolic hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1, have been found to be relative to the antioxidant capacity in the blood. When inflammation is high, secretion of these hormones is blunted, compromising performance and body composition.
Both women and men should pay attention to the need to get adequate magnesium for healthy, balanced hormones because low magnesium will throw off the hormone balance for both sexes. Multiple studies show low magnesium in women can cause an imbalance of the androgen hormones, leading to bone loss. Plus, it’s well documented that low magnesium compromises performance in female athletes.
Be aware that surveys of magnesium intake around the world show that less than 50 percent of the population gets enough magnesium from diet. Researchers suggest taking 500 mg a day of magnesium from magnesium bound with taurate, ororate, glycinate, or fumarate to support hormone levels and athletic performance.
Cinar, V., Polat, Y., Balaci, A., Mogulkoc, R. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Testosterone Levels of Athletes and Sedentary Subjects at Rest and after Exhaustion. Biological Trace Element Research. 2011. 140, 18-23.
Brilla, L., Haley, T. Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Strength Training in Humans. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1992. 11(3), 326-329.