Magnesium is a macromineral, which we require quite a large amount of daily. Everyone seems to know the importance of this mineral, yet so many people are deficient.
Mg is involved in numerous processes in the body, which includes:
- heart rhythm
- vascular tone
- nerve function
- muscle contraction and relaxation
- bone formation
- energy metabolism – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production
- DNA and RNA synthesis
- protein synthesis
- blood pressure (lowers high blood pressure by antagonizing calcium and also increasing endothelial nitric oxide synthesis)
- insulin metabolism (R)
- metabolism of Ca, K, P, Zn, Cu, Fe, Na, Pb, Cd, HCl, acetylcholine, and nitric oxide (NO)
- the intracellular homeostasis and the activation of thiamine (R)
- activation of vitamin D
- synthesis of the most important intracellular antioxidant, glutathione (R, R, R, R, R, R)
An Mg deficiency is staggering: hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage, etc.), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide in the cavities (sinuses, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), causes a calcium deficiency (osteoporosis, hypertension, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence (lack of NO), aggression (lack of NO), fibromas, contribute to a vitamin K deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), iron accumulation, malignant tumors, kidney stones, alteration in blood lipids, psychiatric disorders, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, etc. (R, R)
Magnesium on testosterone
Serum magnesium is positively correlated with testosterone levels.— Hans Amato (@HansAmato) July 10, 2023
Stress and disease enhance magnesium wastage, so be sure to eat magnesium-rich foods.
My prefer magnesium foods are potatoes and milk. pic.twitter.com/HCkSR0TyhR
Magnesium supplementation is able to increase testosterone in sedentary, beginner and advanced athletes and it potentiates the testosterone boost induced by exercise (R). The dose used in this study was 10mg/kg of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), which has roughly 1mg of elemental magnesium (10%) per 10mg.
Magnesium supplementation can help to increase free testosterone, especially during high-intensity exercise. pic.twitter.com/ehQojG4bVc— Hans Amato (@HansAmato) July 10, 2023
ZMA (30mg zinc, 450mg magnesium and 10mg B6) was able to dramatically increase testosterone (184ng/dl) in football players over an 8-week period. Very good boost if you ask me since the placebo group experienced a decline (R). It’s unlikely that the zinc alone was responsible for this since zinc hasn’t been shown to cause such big boosts.
Here are 6 ways how magnesium can increase testosterone:
- Lowering gut inflammation and preventing leaky gut
- A diet low in magnesium leads to a decrease in bifidobacteria in the gut as well as an increase in gut permeability (R). This allows toxins to enter the body, causing inflammation and lower testosterone.
- Increase ATP production, which promotes the production of testosterone in a dose-dependent manner (R, R).
- Magnesium increases ATP production by directly stimulating ATP synthase (the enzyme that creates ATP) (R).
- Binding to ATP to stabilize it.
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- At least 25% of men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone (R).
- Lower excess cortisol
- Improve thyroid hormone production
- Activating vitamin D
- Vitamin D can upregulate various steroidogenic enzymes
- Activation of vitamin B1.
- As vitamin B1 dops, ATP production drops and oxidative stress increases, which leads to low testosterone.
Magnesium on IGF-1
Type 2 diabetics have significantly reduced magnesium, which correlates strongly with IGF-1 (R).
The magnesium is an essential ion involved at multiple levels in insulin secretion, binding and enhancing the ability of insulin to activate tyrosine kinase. The magnesium plays an important role to improve insulin resistance
It is very well known that inflammatory cytokines act as negative regulatory signals that impair IGF-1 bioactivity and temper the action of other anabolic hormones and growth factors (R).
In a cohort of older men, magnesium levels are strongly and independently associated with the anabolic hormones testosterone and IGF-1 (R).
It is possible that poor magnesium status contributes to the onset of late-life sarcopenia. Magnesium deficiency might exacerbate the age-related decline in IGF-1 levels, playing an additive negative effect in impairing physical performance. This is of particular importance in the older population, which is more vulnerable to developing frailty (R).
ZMA can help to prevent the decline in IGF-1 induced by hard training.
ZMA (30mg zinc, 450mg magnesium and 10mg B6) was able to prevent the decline in IGF-1 that happens with intense training over 8 weeks in football players. pic.twitter.com/suzT2abDv9— Hans Amato (@HansAmato) July 10, 2023
When animals were deprived of magnesium, serum magnesium was reduced 76% and serum IGF-I decreased 60% from baseline. Then, diets were replete with magnesium. The serum magnesium normalized, then 2 weeks later, IGF-I reached control levels (R).
Low concentrations of IGF-1 in the circulation increased the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium helps to lower cortisol, especially during a stressful event (R).
Magnesium on sleep
Without (proper restful) sleep, you miss out on the spike that happens.
Proper restful sleep is very important for the natural spike in testosterone.— Hans Amato (@HansAmato) July 10, 2023
Without proper sleep (and with disease), that spike becomes blunted. pic.twitter.com/GB4rQf3d4c
Magnesium is likely one of the most used compounds for improving sleep. Magnesium threonate is recently more regularly used as threonate specifically also has GABA-ergic effects.
Magnesium improves sleep quality by (R):
- Reducing nightly urination frequency
- Reducing early morning waking
- Lowering cortisol
- Lowering inflammation
- Increasing melatonin
Magnesium is essential for muscle function & building muscle
Mg affects muscle and exercise performance in various ways.
Firstly, Mg increases the cells’ efficiency at using oxygen, through increasing oxygen uptake in a cell. Hence, decreasing total oxygen requirement, and increasing endurance performance and the amount of work that can be done.
Mg is essential for ATP production, as ATP is bound to an Mg ion in order to be biologically active. Mg also increases glucose utilization by increasing insulin sensitivity and also by increasing GLUT4 and GLUT3 transporters, which can then supply the muscles and nervous system with more glucose.
Muscle protein synthesis is inhibited in an Mg deficiency, as it decreases leucine incorporation into muscles. It also decreases insulin sensitivity which inhibits other essential amino acids from entering the muscle. Individuals who are looking for a more anabolic edge/or who want to do everything possible for the best growth, need much more Mg than just the recommended daily value of 400mg.
Mg also increases total and free testosterone and IGF-1 which further stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Magnesium is required for DNA replication, transcription into RNA and translation into protein, which is essential for muscle growth. (R)
Resistance exercise combined with Mg supplementation for a seven-week period (8g/kg/day) showed an increase in muscular strength compared to the non-supplemental group. (the study used untrained men). (R)
Magnesium also acts as an adaptogen and lowers stress and cortisol. Cortisol is catabolic and lowering it will help with muscle growth and faster recovery.
Lastly, Mg significantly increases insulin sensitivity and insulin is one of the most anti-catabolic hormones there is. More insulin sensitivity, better muscle growth and retention.
Magnesium improves Thyroid function
Magnesium promotes iodine uptake and high doses of Mg increase the activity of the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones (R). Magnesium (zinc, iron selenium and vitamin B2) is a cofactor for the iodothyronine deiodinase enzymes, which convert T4 into T3 (R).
In rats, magnesium depletion causes a drop in T4 due to impaired synthesis (R).
In humans, similar to testosterone, serum magnesium is positively correlated with thyroid function. Higher levels of magnesium help to lower TSH and increase T4 to T3 conversion.
Even a small increase in serum magnesium (1.72 to 1.8) can dramatically improve thyroid function (lower TSH and increase T3) pic.twitter.com/1aWSwOnRtW— Hans Amato (@HansAmato) July 10, 2023
In athletes, magnesium supplementation at a dose of 10mg/kg increased thyroid hormones, free T4 and T3 (R). Athletes have a higher requirement for magnesium due to increased sweating and stress, both of which waste magnesium.
As an aside, thyroid hormone promotes magnesium retention by enhancing its uptake into cells. When thyroid hormone is low, intracellular magnesium drops and intracellular calcium increases. This excites the cell and can increase inflammation and lead to spasms for example.
Best magnesium supplement to take
Mg oxide is the most common and also the cheapest, but is by far the worst. Only 4% is absorbed by the body. My wife and I once ingested 4g of Mg oxide and felt absolutely nothing of it. Not even stomach upset.
The following would be the best to get:
Just beware of MgCl and MgSO4 (Epsom salt) if you plan of taking these orally, as the magnesium absorption is about 30% whereas the acid, Cl and SO4 absorb approx. 90%, thus putting an acid load on the body. Over time the acid will build up and your kidneys will have to work harder to excrete it, and might even put the body in an unfavorable pH balance. It would be best to take these forms only topically and not every day.
How to prevent stomach upset
Most people usually experience stomach upset when ingesting Mg. Here are a few ways to bypass that.
Mg bicarbonate: Although you won’t find this in the store you can easily make it yourself, and it’s been extremely well-tolerated by even people that are really sensitive to Mg supplementation.
Recipe: 1L carbonated water + 3tbsp Mg hydroxide. If you still get stomach upset from this rather use 1 tbsp Mg carbonate instead of the Mg hydroxide. Both these concoctions will give you 1500mg elemental Mg a day. You can ingest the whole liter in one day if you like.
Baths: Lots of people feel a relieve when taking MgCl or MgSO4 (Epsom salt) bath. Throw in a generous amount of Mg into the bath and soak away for 30 minutes. This will also help to excrete toxins from your body and increase circulation. For a foot bath, use 1/2 cup to a full cup, and for a whole body bath, throw in 1 pound. Always add equal parts sodium bicarbonate.
Topicals: Topicals absorb pretty well. Use MgCl oil or make your own by dissolving some in water. Spray on yourself and go out in the sun and give it time to absorb. The sun will open your pores and increase absorption. An hour or so would be good. This will help you get some vitamin D as well.
Another good source of transdermal Mg would be Mg acetate, which is metabolized into Mg bicarbonate once it gets inside the body. I make my own lotion with MgCl as mentioned in the androgens section above. You can make your Mg acetate, by using Mg carbonate mixed with vinegar till it’s dissolved.
Use smaller doses spread throughout the day. My three top recommendations is Mg pidolate, Mg glycinate and Mg bicarbonate. Try about 200mg at a time, 2-4 times a day.
Coconut oil is antifungal and three heaping tablespoons though the day seems more effective than anything else in preventing diarrhea from excess (therapeutic) doses of magnesium. (R)
Consume with food. If I take MgCl on an empty stomach I get loose stool, but when I take it with a cup of milk I get no problems whatsoever.
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