Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
5 min read
Magnesium is a mineral that is necessary for good health. Involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, this essential ion plays a key role in physiological functions of the brian, heart, and skeletal muscles. It keeps your heart beating steady and your immune system strong, while enabling your nervous system to send and receive messages and your muscles to contract. It also helps build proteins and strong bones, and regulates blood sugar level. More than 60% of your body’s magnesium can be found in your bones.
Most people can get enough magnesium by eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, baked white potatoes with skin, salmon, mackerel, beef, poultry, bananas, yogurt, and, yes, dark chocolate (at least 70%). Recent studies, however, indicate that at least 60% of Americans do not consume the recommended amount of Magnesium (Mg2+). The problem stems largely from the processed foods and the mineral depletion in soil being used for agriculture.
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, plays a key part in sperm production and sex drive in men. Levels naturally start to decline around age 30 and decreased libido and additional weight gain are often the result. The good news is that research has now indicated that magnesium has a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including testosterone, in men. Exercise and healthy eating will also help, though those with a more sedentary lifestyle have also seen improvements with an increase in magnesium.
Magnesium is necessary to maintain a steady heartbeat and normal blood pressure. It also helps to regulate the amount of calcium allowed into the cells of the heart muscle. Without it, calcium can flood the heart cells, causing serious problems. Human studies have confirmed the association of low intake of magnesium with increased risk for cardiovascular issues. The good news is that a healthy diet, exercise, and supplementation are an easy way to support cardiovascular health.
Magnesium is critical to the activation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the coenzyme responsible for transporting energy within our cells for metabolism and, among other critical functions, cell division and reproduction. Trillions of processes in the body are dependent upon ATP. The mitochondria in our cells couldn’t convert food into energy without ATP. And ATP couldn’t do any of it without magnesium. So, the next time you need a little pick-me-up and you find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee or a sugary energy drink, how about a little magnesium for your body’s ATP?
Magnesium is a mineral that plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones, bone stabilization, and bone growth. According to one study, higher magnesium intake is directly associated with higher bone mineral density. As people age, higher bone density is important in reducing the risk of bone fractures.
Magnesium is key to reaching your best physical performance. It helps your body turn glycogen into glucose, which provides fuel for your workout. You can also metabolize protein better, lose fat, and gain lean muscle much more easily with sufficient magnesium. When you’re not getting enough magnesium, your body will feel fatigued and you may struggle to complete your workout. Depleted magnesium levels can also cause cramps in the legs and other muscles during exercise. When you recover, nothing feels better than a warm bath in Epsom salts or magnesium flakes.
Research shows that magnesium may help improve your sleep. A sleep study in which adults were either given 500 mg of magnesium daily for 8 weeks or a placebo demonstrated improved sleep efficiency, sleep time, sleep onset, and early morning awakening in the magnesium group. Patients reported that they fell asleep more quickly and slept longer.
Studies have shown that people undergoing physical and mental stress may benefit from supplementing with magnesium. When stress occurs, the body is triggered to release more cortisol. Magnesium plays an important role in the regulation of cortisol levels and is able to keep the nervous system calm, prevent excess cortisol production, and reduce the impact stress sometimes has.
Magnesium is critical to proper protein synthesis, which is necessary for muscle repair. It also acts as a natural calcium blocker, helping your muscle cells to relax after contraction. When you have low levels of magnesium, your muscles may contract too much and leave you with cramps or spasms. Many have long believed that a warm bath in Epsom salts or magnesium flakes helps with muscle recovery. There’s not much scientific data on this claim, but, let’s face it, the warm bath certainly can’t hurt.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 420 mg/day and 320 mg/day for healthy men and women, respectively. If supplementation is recommended, there are many options available in capsule, liquid, and powder form. As always, consult with your healthcare provider.
Magnesium is essential to life, yet most people don’t get nearly enough of it. Whether it’s excessive processed foods, unhealthy diet, lifestyle choices, or the lack of minerals in agricultural soil, men should be more aware of their magnesium levels.
Magnesium supports testosterone production, aids in muscle development, maintains steady heartbeat, regulates cortisol level, improves sleep, helps with healthy brain signaling, and many additional things that help you maintain a healthy, happy body and mind.