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One gram magnesium raises T level by a quarter

A supplement containing a not drastically high dose of magnesium raises athletes’ testosterone level, write researchers at Selcuk University, Turkey, in an article that will soon be published in Biological Trace Element Research. If we are to believe this Turkish publication, your testosterone level rises by a quarter if you take one gram daily of magnesium and do intensive exercise.

The idea that athletes react well to magnesium supplements is not so strange. Nutritionists estimate our magnesium requirement at 4 mg/kg/day. Cells need magnesium to produce the energy molecules ATP and protective enzymes. But according to American surveys, seventy percent of the population does not get enough of the mineral. This is because people no longer consume sufficient amounts of whole grains, spinach, nuts and beans – all good sources of magnesium.

Epidemiological studies of elderly people have shown that the more magnesium they consume, the greater their muscular strength. A possible mechanism is that magnesium causes testosterone to attach itself less easily to the binding protein SHBG, and as a result the concentration of free testosterone in the blood rises.

The researchers at Selcuk University did an experiment with 30 male students aged between 18 and 22. Ten had a sedentary lifestyle; twenty did taekwondo five times a week for between ninety minutes and two hours each session.

The ten sedentary students took 10 mg/kg bodyweight magnesium in the form of magnesium sulphate every day for four weeks [Group 1]. For a person weighing 100 kg that amounts to one gram of magnesium daily. Among the martial arts practitioners, half received the same dose of magnesium [Group 2], and the other half took nothing [Group 3].

Before starting the supplementation, the researchers measured the students’ testosterone concentration in their blood. This was done at rest [Rbs] and after running at high intensity until exhaustion [Ebs]. After four weeks of taking the supplements, the researchers once again measured the testosterone concentration at rest [Ras] and after physical exhaustion [Eas].

The table below shows the total testosterone values. The lower table shows the free testosterone values. Free testosterone is not attached to transport proteins and is therefore known to be active, which is not always the case for testosterone that is attached.

Most noticeable is the rise in the free testosterone level of Group 2 at rest: 24 percent. In Group 3, those who didn’t take magnesium, the rise is ‘only’ 15 percent. According to the researchers, the testosterone enhancing effect of magnesium is enough to improve athletes’ performance.

The same researchers have also published articles on the testosterone enhancing properties of astronomic doses of zinc and non-astronomic, but hefty doses of calcium.

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2010 Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print].

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