Train hard, and you’ll absorb the vital minerals that keep your testosterone levels high and your testicles healthy. Here’s the easy fix.
Up to 85 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This is a big deal because minerals are intimately involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
Zinc deficiencies are uncommon, but they are equally dire threats to your health. This mineral plays an important role in hormonal status, cell division, wound healing, energy levels, and carbohydrate management, among other things.
While a deficiency of both minerals is bad news, a deficiency of both zinc and magnesium is even worse. Not only can it negatively impact your overall health, but it can also deliver a biochemical, steel-toed blow to your poor old gonads.
Without adequate amounts of these important minerals, testosterone levels drop and testicular function often diminishes to the point where your testicles need a walker to move, and this can be even worse for athletes.
To make matters worse, zinc and magnesium (along with some other minerals) are excreted through perspiration, so the more athletes exercise and work harder, the more zinc and magnesium are lost. This can lower testosterone levels even further, making it harder to make progress.
Still, there’s an easy workaround. Just take this inexpensive, well-absorbed supplement (ZMA) enhances zinc and magnesium levels while boosting testosterone levels while restoring testicular function.
How do you know if you are deficient? You can assume you are deficient in magnesium and/or zinc, as most of us are, and you can get a comprehensive mineral panel (blood test) from your doctor, or you can just look for specific symptoms.
Signs of Low Zinc
In addition to muscle, strength, and performance problems caused by low zinc, there are other possible signs of a zinc deficiency, including but not limited to the following general symptoms:
- low libido
- did not sleep well
- thinning hair
- allergic symptoms
- loss of appetite
- weakened immunity (such as frequent colds or flu)
In addition, zinc plays an important role in reproduction.Zinc is necessary for the production and regulation of several hormones, including testosterone. It is also crucial for the development of male sex organs, as people who are deficient in vitamin D have been found to have underdeveloped testes and lower sperm counts.
Zinc also plays an important role in the production of prostatic fluid. Some studies have even shown a relationship between not getting enough zinc and the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
These relationships are easily demonstrated in laboratory experiments. One study even found that consuming a little less zinc than normal negatively impacted serum testosterone concentrations and semen volume, but the amount needed to restore optimal function was just 10.4 mg. one day.
Another study involving rats showed that “testicular androgen levels” (androstenedione, testosterone, and androstanediol) were significantly reduced in rats with severe to mild zinc deficiency.
Adding zinc to a zinc-deficient diet is thought to restore depleted androgen levels by increasing levels of luteinizing hormone, a pituitary hormone that stimulates testosterone production. Zinc also acts as a strong aromatase inhibitor, meaning it blocks the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with the following general conditions:
- low libido
- Difficulty losing fat
- did not sleep well
- poor recovery
- muscle cramps
- weakness and fatigue
- eye twitch
While most research on zinc shows that it is strongly associated with testicular and reproductive health, research on magnesium shows that supplementation generally improves performance, possibly because the mineral increases testosterone bioavailability.
For example, one study showed that instead of binding to steroid hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone binds to magnesium, which increases free testosterone levels. (Which would also explain its muscle-building effects.)
For some reason, this phenomenon is more pronounced in people who exercise. Another study involving cyclists found that magnesium supplementation increased free testosterone levels by 15% in the sedentary group and an impressive 24% in athletes.
A third study involving kickboxing athletes found that athletes taking supplemental magnesium had significantly higher testosterone levels than sedentary subjects.
We know that strenuous exercise and sweating can exacerbate these mineral deficiencies, but diet or eating habits are likely at the root of most of our mineral deficiencies.
Carbonated drinks are a big problem because the phosphates in the drinks bind to the magnesium. The same goes for phytic acid in various grains. Sugar and caffeine also have an antagonistic relationship with magnesium, and the more you eat, the more you lose the mineral.
Zinc deficiency is caused by the aforementioned sweat-related losses, malabsorption, or reduced dietary intake due to avoidance of zinc-rich foods, or simply bad luck ingesting plant sources grown under less-than-ideal conditions.
We can try to eat more foods rich in magnesium and zinc, but as mentioned before absorption is sometimes poor and you never know how much you are getting from certain foods (due to poor soil, lack of enough sunlight, etc.) .
Assuming ideal growing conditions, you’ll still need to eat a lot of food to get enough. For example, chewing about 9 bananas may get you your daily recommended intake of magnesium, while pinching your nose, closing your eyes and eating a few cups of seaweed may get you your daily recommended intake of zinc.
Biologically tested ZMA is an advanced zinc/magnesium formula designed to restore testosterone levels and reproductive health caused by a deficiency of one or two important minerals.
Given that most common types of zinc and magnesium tend to be poorly absorbed, Biotest has included highly bioavailable forms of these two minerals in its formula:
- Zinc monomethionine aspartate: 30 mg.Serving Per 3 Capsules
- Magnesium Aspartate: 450 mg.Serving Per 3 Capsules
It also contains 10.6 mg per serving. Vitamin B6 further enhances absorption and utilization.
Men should take three capsules about an hour before bed on an empty or semi-fasting stomach so that, in addition to boosting testosterone levels, they can enjoy another pleasant side effect of magnesium supplements: a good night’s sleep.
Women can and should also supplement with ZMA® as they are prone to the same deficiencies as men, especially if they are athletes. For example, magnesium plays about the same role in testosterone levels in women as it does in men (albeit to a lesser extent). Likewise, zinc plays an important role in female fertility.
Women should take two capsules ZMA It can also be taken on an empty or semi-empty stomach about an hour before bedtime.
CD Hunt, PE Johnson, J Herbel, LK Mullen, “Effect of dietary zinc deficiency on semen volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentration, and sperm morphology in young men”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 56, No. 1, July 1992, pp. 148-157.
Chakraborty S et al. “Protective role of magnesium in cardiovascular disease: a review.” Mol Cell Biochemistry. 2002 Sep;238(1-2):163-79.
Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R, “Effect of magnesium supplementation on resting and post-exhaustion testosterone levels in athletes and sedentary subjects”, Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23.
Ford E, Mokdad A. “Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults”. J. Nuttle. 133:2879-2882, September 2003.
Hamdi SA, Nassif OI, Ardavi MS. “Effects of Minor or Severe Dietary Zinc Deficiency on Testicular Development and Function in Rats.” Archie Androl. 1997 May-June;38(3):243-53.
Nadler JL et al. “Magnesium deficiency leads to insulin resistance and increased thromboxane synthesis.” Hypertension. 1993 Jun;21(6 Part 2):1024-9.
Tipton K, Green NR, Haymes EM, Waller M. “Zinc Loss from Sweat in Athletes Exercising at Hot and Neutral Temperatures.” 1993 Sep;3(3):261-71.