What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium, of which 85% of Americans are deficient, plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions and is crucial to energy production, protein synthesis, and insulin metabolism.*
Benefits of Magnesium
- Supports anabolic hormone production*
- Boost exercise performance*
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels*
- Promote heart health*
What You Need to Know About Magnesium
Between 70 to 85% of the American population is deficient in magnesium, but when you add working out and sweating to the equation, it gets even worse. That's because magnesium tends to leave the body through sweat, and athletes have heightened needs for the mineral.
It's potentially a big deal because magnesium is involved in approximately 300 enzymatic reactions. And being deficient can cause suboptimal protein synthesis, low testosterone production, poor athletic performance, excessive lactic acid build-up, muscle cramping, difficulty losing fat, poor recovery, to name a few.
Are You Magnesium Deficient?
Here are the common complaints:
- Difficulty losing fat
- Poor sleep
- Slow recovery
- Muscle cramps
- Weakness and fatigue
- Eye twitches
At least a couple of studies have shown that testosterone prefers to bind to magnesium rather than steroid hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Binding to magnesium instead of SHBG increases free testosterone, explaining the anabolic effect of magnesium.
Aside from sweating a lot of it out when you exercise, plenty of dietary habits make getting enough magnesium tricky. Carbonated drinks lower magnesium levels. Too much sugar or caffeine causes the body to excrete it. Phytates in grains bind magnesium, so it can't be absorbed.
Keto or Paleo diets, or bad diets in general, don't provide enough of the mineral. Even the best conditions sometimes make it hard to take in enough magnesium – unless you don't mind eating 10 cups of seaweed or 7 bananas.
That's why supplementing magnesium is almost mandatory, but only with the mineral fully "chelated." The process ensures an amino-acid chelate that's small enough to pass through the intestine and transported right into the cell.
Mineral formulations that aren't chelated are problematic because most foods we eat contain chemicals that inhibit absorption.
Chelated minerals, however, can be taken without fear of absorption problems. They're the best way to ingest these essential minerals.
Products Containing Magnesium
Research on Magnesium
- Cinar V et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23.
- Maguire D et al. Telomere Homeostasis: Interplay with Magnesium. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan 5;19(1):157. doi: 10.3390/ijms19010157.
- Ford ES et al. Magnesium Intake in a National Sample of US Adults. J Nutr. 2003 Sep;133(9):2879-82. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.9.2879.
- Zofková I et al. The relationship between magnesium and calciotropic hormones. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar;8(1):77-84.
- B T Altura, et al. Magnesium dietary intake modulates blood lipid levels and atherogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 March; 87(5): 1840–1844.
- Cohen H et al. Atherogenesis inhibition induced by magnesium-chloride fortification of drinking water. Biol Trace Elem Res. Winter 2002;90(1-3):251-9. doi: 10.1385/BTER:90:1-3:251.
- Ma B et al. Dairy, Magnesium, and Calcium Intake in Relation to Insulin Sensitivity: Approaches to Modeling a Dose-dependent Association. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Sep 1;164(5):449-58. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwj246. Epub 2006 Jul 21.
- Huerta MG et al. Magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance in obese children. Diabetes Care. 2005 May;28(5):1175-81. doi: 10.2337/diacare.28.5.1175.
- Song Y et al. Dietary magnesium intake in relation to plasma insulin levels and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):59-65. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.1.59.
- Lopez-Ridaura R et al. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):134-40. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.1.134.
- Balon TW et al. Magnesium supplementation reduces development of diabetes in a rat model of spontaneous NIDDM. Am J Physiol. 1995 Oct;269(4 Pt 1):E745-52. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1995.269.4.E745.
- Nadler JL et al. Magnesium deficiency produces insulin resistance and increased thromboxane synthesis. Hypertension. 1993 Jun;21(6 Pt 2):1024-9. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.21.6.1024.
- Rodríguez-Morán M et al. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2003 Apr;26(4):1147-52. doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.4.1147.
- Mooren FC et al. Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects - a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2011 Mar;13(3):281-4.
- Guerrero-Romero F et al. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic subjects with insulin resistance. A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Diabetes Metab. 2004 Jun;30(3):253-8. doi: 10.1016/s1262-3636(07)70116-7.
- Chakraborti S et al. Protective role of magnesium in cardiovascular diseases: a review. Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Sep;238(1-2):163-79. doi: 10.1023/a:1019998702946.
- Maier JAM. Low magnesium and atherosclerosis: an evidence-based link. Mol Aspects Med. Feb-Jun 2003;24(1-3):137-46.
- Bohn T et al. Phytic acid added to white-wheat bread inhibits fractional apparent magnesium absorption in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Mar;79(3):418-23. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/79.3.418.
- Brilla L et al. Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength. Journal of Exercise Physiology (online). 3(4): 26-36, 2000.
- Wilborn CD et al. Effects of Zinc Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) Supplementation on Training Adaptations and Markers of Anabolism and Catabolism. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2004; 1(2): 12–20. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-12