Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body and is necessary for key bodily functions and processes. Although this mineral is crucial to our health, it can sometimes get overlooked. This vital mineral is associated with bone health, energy production, metabolism and nervous system and much more.
Like women, there can be additional health related demands on the body for men which can involve optimising fertility and raising a family while managing career related stresses. Although hormone production does not cease in men as it does in women, testosterone starts to decline from the age of 40. Although the decrease in production is estimated to be by 1% annually, its effect may be noticeable in the 50s.
Supporting testosterone levels
Magnesium is known to support testosterone production and in those with suboptimal testosterone production magnesium was shown to increase its production. In consequence, lowered testosterone levels are associated with increased atherosclerosis, a risk marker for cardiovascular outcomes.
Interestingly, research on magnesium taurate shows beneficial results for heart health. It is thought that the combination of magnesium with the antioxidant amino acid taurine is responsible for the effect. A study showed that using 2mg or 4mg of magnesium taurate per kilogram of bodyweight produced a significant reduction in blood pressure through improved endothelial function. Endothelial cells are found in blood vessels, they cover the entire internal surface and their role is to maintain structure and function of the blood vessels.
Insomnia may be a result of an inadequate intake of magnesium. It is thought the mineral assists the muscles to relax and so beneficial for preparing for sleep and normalising disturbed sleep. A useful tip can be to optimise magnesium intake to see if sleep improves.
Healthy brain signalling
Research shows that migraine sufferers have a lower magnesium status than non-sufferers. It is suggested that magnesium may prevent the wave of brain signalling that produces the visual and sensory changes that characterise a migraine aura, alongside a decrease in pain transmitting signals. Ultimately several elements of migraine may be relieved.
In a study, intracellular and extracellular magnesium concentrations demonstrated by red blood cell and saliva respectively were taken from migraine and tension headache patients. An association between red blood cell magnesium concentrations and migraine was demonstrated. Furthermore, the MAGraine study showed that magnesium performed in a comparable manner to two commonly prescribed migraine medications when given to migraine patients on just one occasion.
How much magnesium do men need?
To support this wide range of roles, Public Health England recommend that adults should aim to consume 300mg daily.
To support this wide range of roles, Public Health England recommend that adults should aim to consume 300mg daily. Magnesium-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, wholefoods such as oats and barley, oily fish, bananas and nut butters.
Whilst magnesium is found in most foods, lifestyle demands and an over-reliance on processed foods which have low nutritional value can make it difficult to consume the recommended daily intake.
Food supplements can provide an alternative opportunity to meet nutritional gaps. Magnesium supplements are commonly available as a capsule or powder, and in this form, they do not contain binders and non-nutritive additives. To achieve a therapeutic intake of the mineral, opt for food supplements which provide magnesium alone or partnered with one or two other nutrients.
Magnesium is contraindicated with some medication, especially those that interact with the cardiovascular system or support osteoporosis. For this reason, it is recommended that you discuss any potential supplementation with your GP when you are prescribed medication.
Tip: Visit your local independent health store for nutritional advice on magnesium intake and lifestyle suggestions at findahealthstore.com.
When it comes to supporting men’s everyday health, magnesium is an essential nutrient and its role should not be underestimated. In particular, the mineral has a beneficial role in supporting testosterone levels and heart health.
To ensure a good magnesium intake, incorporate foods rich in the mineral and consider supplementation for additional nutritional support.
Author: Jenny Carson is a Nutritional Practitioner and Technical Services Manager at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Nutritional Science and is a Master of Research (MRes) in Public Health.
The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.