Category Archives: Magnesium
by John McKiernan
(NaturalNews) Low testosterone levels in men can result in muscle deterioration, diminished sex drive, depression, low energy, infertility and loss of hair among various other consequences. Slightly elevated testosterone levels on the other hand, will promote muscle growth, energy, sex drive and an overall sense of well being.
Low testosterone and mineral deficiencies
There are many pharmaceuticals available for the treatment of low testosterone. Unfortunately, the majority of them cause side effects; and rather than working with your body, in many ways they can work against it. For some men that suffer from low testosterone, there may be a very specific cause, like a mineral deficiency. This is why it is important to experiment with safe and natural alternatives like ZMA. ZMA first became popular in the bodybuilding world for its proposed ability to increase strength and muscle mass; however, it is beginning to get more mainstream recognition.
Zinc monomethionine aspartate and magnesium aspartate are united to create the relatively new mineral supplement, ZMA. Both zinc and magnesium are mineral elements required for many physiological processes. It appears that each of these minerals may also possess the ability to increase free testosterone levels, which plays a direct role in muscle synthesis. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states “supplemental magnesium and zinc apparently improve strength and muscle metabolism.”
Magnesium, which is necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, is deficient in many Americans due to poor diet. Therefore, supplementation of this mineral may cure deficiencies for many who were unaware the problem existed.
Two separate studies (published in the Journal of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry and by the Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry) found that Magnesium supplementation decreased cortisol levels, which would in turn have an anti-catabolic effect. One of the studies reported that “magnesium supplementation reduced the stress response without affecting competitive potential.”
A study published in a 2011 issue of Biological Trace Element Research found that ingesting approximately 10 mg of magnesium per kg of body weight caused an increase in free testosterone levels.
The relationship between zinc and testosterone has been studied extensively and although the results are conflicting, one thing seems to be clear; zinc deficiencies do contribute to low testosterone levels.
One study published by Wayne State University School of Medicine states that “zinc deficiency is prevalent throughout the world, including the USA. Severe and moderate deficiency of zinc is associated with hypogonadism (little to no testosterone production) in men.” The study concluded that “zinc may play an important role in modulating serum testosterone levels in normal men.”
All of these findings indicate that both zinc and magnesium could potentially be effective in increasing free testosterone levels and promoting anabolism, particularly in those with deficiencies.
Boost your testosterone, don’t replace it
In direct contract to anabolic steroids, natural mineral supplements like ZMA trigger production of the body’s own testosterone, which means you’ll never have to worry about plummeting, or unstable testosterone levels. Testosterone replacement therapy, on the other hand, shuts down the body’s production of the hormone, which means coming off of this type of treatment will result in dangerously low testosterone levels. In some cases, the body may never start producing its own testosterone again, which means you will be required to continue the therapy for life.
The best thing thing about a natural supplements like ZMA is that if you decide it doesn’t work for you, no harm done. You are simply ingesting minerals that only have the potential to improve your health in various ways, one of the more prevalent being increased testosterone levels.
Magnesium is an important mineral for those looking to build a better body.
Now that’s one heck of an understatement. It’s not unlike saying that the quarterback is an important position on a football team or that Lindsay Lohan isn’t an ideal role model for young women.
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, many of which are directly related to muscle function and protein synthesis. Yet most Americans don’t get anywhere near enough magnesium, and the problem is amplified in hard training athletes and muscleheads.
To make matters worse, magnesium is slowly disappearing from the modern diet. Industrial agriculture and food processing methods literally strip magnesium and other valuable minerals right from our food supply, making it harder to consume enough nutrients from even a seemingly “healthy,” varied diet.
So what can we do about it? First, let’s take a closer look at why magnesium is so critically important.
Parathyroid Hormone, Vitamin D…And Atherosclerosis?
As stated, magnesium has many essential roles in human biochemistry. For one, magnesium deficiency is associated with hypoparathyroidism and low vitamin D production.
Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to disrupted bone metabolism. However, in several animal trials, supplementing with magnesium even inhibited the development of atherosclerosis!
Magnesium is known as the mineral of glucose control as it’s closely associated with insulin sensitivity, and a low intake has been linked with the development of type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, rat studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can mostly prevent diabetes.
Interestingly, high blood glucose and insulin levels seem to reduce magnesium status even more. It seemingly creates a vicious cycle where low magnesium levels lead to poor glucose control and insulin sensitivity, which again lowers magnesium status.
In healthy volunteers, those following a low-magnesium diet for only four weeks reduced their insulin sensitivity by 25%, suggesting that magnesium deficiency can lead to insulin resistance.
Magnesium supplementation in particular has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects, both diabetics and non-diabetic alike. Let’s take a look at a few of these studies.
- A 16-week trial with type 2 diabetics found that magnesium supplementation improved fasting glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and HbA1c levels (a form of hemoglobin which is measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time). HbA1c levels were improved by 22%, which is an incredible number. That would take a diabetic with an HbA1c level of 8% (not good) down to 6.2% (very good) in only four months.
- A recent study showed that magnesium supplementation, even when levels are normal, could have positive benefits. Six months of magnesium supplementation in obese people who were insulin sensitive and had normal blood levels of magnesium led to further improved insulin sensitivity, as well as a 7% improvement in fasting glucose levels.
- A study on magnesium supplementation in insulin resistant but non-diabetic volunteers who had low blood levels of magnesium showed incredible results after only 16 weeks. Participants reduced their insulin resistance by 43% and fasting insulin by 32%, suggesting that their magnesium deficiency may have been one of the main reasons why they were insulin resistant in the first place.
Magnesium supplementation also improved subjects’ blood lipids. Total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides were all decreased, while HDL increased. The triglyceride improvement (of 39%!) makes the most sense, as improved glucose control will keep the liver from cranking out more TG’s, but the rest of the improvement is remarkable, too.
What About Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease?
Recent reviews have concluded that magnesium deficiency can lead to increased LDL levels, endothelial dysfunction, increased inflammation and oxidative stress, and constriction of coronary arteries (decreasing oxygen and nutrients to the heart). Well, that doesn’t sound all that appealing.
Magnesium supplementation and repletion has been shown to decrease LDL levels (as well as improve the other blood lipids), restore endothelial dysfunction in people with coronary artery disease, and decrease inflammation.
Enough Already! Where Do I Get Me Some Magnesium?
The best sources of magnesium are fish, nuts, seeds, beans, leafy greens, whole grains, and some fruits and vegetables. In particular, salmon, halibut, spinach, almonds, cashews, potatoes, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, and brown rice are all good whole sources of this precious mineral.
It’s important to note that magnesium content is dependent on soil quality, so buying most of these foods from organic or sustainable farms might provide you with greater levels of dietary magnesium. While this argument is still considered speculative, there is no dispute that conventionally grown foods are being raised in depleted soils. You can’t expect to grow nutrient-rich food from nutrient-stripped soil, so it might be worth the cost to go organic or sustainable.
It should also be noted that foods like whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are also rich sources of phytic acid. Phytic acid may provide some independent health benefits, but it’s also an anti-nutrient that binds to magnesium (among other nutrients), preventing its absorption.
Historically, healthy non-industrial cultures that consumed significant amounts of grains also soaked or fermented them. This process would greatly decrease the phytic acid content while increasing nutrient bioavailability and improving digestibility. They might not have known why it worked; they just knew it did work.
For this reason, I recommend most of your grains be sprouted (like Ezekiel products) to reduce (but not eliminate) phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. It would also be a good idea to soak your beans for at least 24 hours, as well as roasting or buying roasted nuts, as these preparation methods may reduce phytic acid as well.
Finally, a very simple, convenient, not to mention effective option is simply to buy a high quality magnesium supplement like BIOTEST EliteproTM Minerals. One serving of EliteproTM contains 400mg of highly absorbable magnesium glycinate chelate, along with zinc, selenium, chromium, and vanadium, key minerals for blood sugar management, protein synthesis, and hormonal status.
Taking EliteproTM once a day along with choosing as many organic magnesium-rich whole foods as you can comfortably afford would be a near foolproof strategy.
Magnesium is, well, kind of a big deal. It’s vital for proper bone metabolism, vitamin D metabolism, parathyroid function, insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance as well as proper blood lipid levels and prevention of atherosclerosis, not to mention cardiovascular disease. It even helps you chill out after a stressful day and sleep like a baby.
But we also know that most Americans don’t consume enough magnesium, and that the industrialization of our food production has further decreased levels of this critical mineral. While consuming a diet based on real, whole, minimally processed foods should provide you with adequate levels, a high-quality mineral supplement like BIOTEST EliteproTM Mineral Support makes things a whole lot easier.
Consuming foods rich in magnesium along with proper supplementation will ensure adequate levels and provide you with more health benefits than you could possibly remember.
Or maybe you could? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was discovered that magnesium assisted in memory and cognitive function.
By Jason Stevenson
Five years after telling a bunch of angry apes to keep their filthy paws off him, Charlton Heston starred in Soylent Green. In the film, a megacorporation solves a starving world’s need for nutritious food by turning the dead into dinner. This is complete science fiction, of course: Most of us are so short on key nutrients we couldn’t possibly be someone’s square meal.
In fact, studies show that 77 percent of men don’t take in enough magnesium, that many of us are deficient in vitamin D, and that the vitamin B12 in our diets may be undermined by a common heartburn medication. And we haven’t even mentioned our problems with potassium and iodine.
It’s time to play catch-up. Follow our advice, and a cannibal will never call you junk food.
This vitamin’s biggest claim to fame is its role in strengthening your skeleton. But vitamin D isn’t a one-trick nutrient: A study in Circulation found that people deficient in D were up to 80 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. The reason? D may reduce inflammation in your arteries.
The shortfall: Vitamin D is created in your body when the sun’s ultraviolet B rays penetrate your skin. Problem is, the vitamin D you stockpile during sunnier months is often depleted by winter, especially if you live in the northern half of the United States, where UVB rays are less intense from November through February. Case in point: When Boston University researchers measured the vitamin D status of young adults at the end of winter, 36 percent of them were found to be deficient.
Hit the mark: First, ask your doctor to test your blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. “You need to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter,” says Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at Boston University. Come up short? Take 1,400 IU of vitamin D daily from a supplement and a multivitamin. That’s about seven times the recommended daily intake for men, but it takes that much to boost blood levels of D, says Dr. Holick.
This lightweight mineral is a tireless multitasker: It’s involved in more than 300 bodily processes. Plus, a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that low levels of magnesium may increase your blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of heart disease.
The shortfall: Nutrition surveys reveal that men consume only about 80 percent of the recommended 400 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day. “We’re just barely getting by,” says Dana King, M.D., a professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. “Without enough magnesium, every cell in your body has to struggle to generate energy.”
Hit the mark: Fortify your diet with more magnesium-rich foods, such as halibut and navy beans. Then hit the supplement aisle: Few men can reach 400 mg through diet alone, so Dr. King recommends ingesting some insurance in the form of a 250 mg supplement. One caveat: Scrutinize the ingredients list. You want a product that uses magnesium citrate, the form best absorbed by your body.
Consider B12 the guardian of your gray matter: In a British study, older people with the lowest levels of B12 lost brain volume at a faster rate over a span of 5 years than those with the highest levels.
The shortfall: Even though most men do consume the daily quota of 2.4 micrograms, the stats don’t tell the whole story. “We’re seeing an increase in B12 deficiencies due to interactions with medications,” says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., director of a USDA program at Tufts University. The culprits: acid-blocking drugs, such as Prilosec, and the diabetes medication metformin.
Hit the mark: You’ll find B12 in lamb and salmon, but the most accessible source may be fortified cereals. That’s because the B12 in meat is bound to proteins, and your stomach must produce acid to release and absorb it. Eat a bowl of 100 percent B12-boosted cereal and milk every morning and you’ll be covered, even if you take the occasional acid-blocking med. However, if you pop Prilosec on a regular basis or are on metformin, talk to your doctor about tracking your B12 levels and possibly taking an additional supplement.
Without this essential mineral, your heart couldn’t beat, your muscles wouldn’t contract, and your brain couldn’t comprehend this sentence. Why? Potassium helps your cells use glucose for energy.
The shortfall: Despite potassium’s can’t-live-without-it importance, nutrition surveys indicate that young men consume just 60 percent to 70 percent of the recommended 4,700 mg a day. To make matters worse, most guys load up on sodium: High sodium can boost blood pressure, while normal potassium levels work to lower it, says Lydia A. L. Bazzano, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at Tulane University.
Hit the mark: Half an avocado contains nearly 500 mg potassium, while one banana boasts roughly 400 mg. Not a fan of either fruit? Pick up some potatoes—a single large spud is packed with 1,600 mg.
Your thyroid gland requires iodine to produce the hormones T3 and T4, both of which help control how efficiently you burn calories. That means insufficient iodine may cause you to gain weight and feel fatigued.
The shortfall: Since iodized salt is an important source of the element, you might assume you’re swimming in the stuff. But when University of Texas at Arlington researchers tested 88 samples of table salt, they found that half contained less than the FDA-recommended amount of iodine. And you’re not making up the difference with all the salt hiding in processed foods—U.S. manufacturers aren’t required to use iodized salt. The result is that we’ve been sliding toward iodine deficiency since the 1970s.
Hit the mark: Sprinkling more salt on top of an already sodium-packed diet isn’t a great idea, but iodine can also be found in a nearly sodium-free source: milk. Animal feed is fortified with the element, meaning it travels from cows to your cereal bowl. Not a milk man? Eat at least one serving of eggs or yogurt a day; both are good sources of iodine.