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Maximizing Your Testosterone: Is Magnesium a Solution?

Feeling sluggish and noticing a dip in libido? There's a natural solution—magnesium. Studies suggest this mineral can increase testosterone. But is a daily dose enough, or should you optimize gains by hitting the gym?

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By Staff Writer
Jovan Mijailovic
Edited by Jovan Mijailovic

Published May 1, 2024.

A back of a man that optimized gains by increasing testosterone through magnesium supplements.

To get a detailed portrait of your body’s internal biochemistry, you should understand how biomarkers impact each other. That's why we want to take the time and help you learn the process.

Recent scientific literature says that magnesium may boost testosterone levels. The result? Improved muscle growth, sex drive, and overall health and wellness in men and women.

Key takeaways

  • Studies show that supplementing with magnesium—especially when paired with exercise—can increase testosterone levels in men.
  • This mineral is also involved in over 300 bodily reactions. It helps the body synthesize protein, improves muscle and nerve function, and regulates blood sugar and pressure.
  • While the research on the relationship between these two biomarkers is promising, we need more studies that explore the effects on women. The mechanism behind this connection is also yet to be fully understood.

Testosterone: It's not only the male hormone

When people think of testosterone, they instantly recall it as the male hormone. It rises in puberty to help produce sperm and form secondary characteristics like body hair.

Many health and fitness articles promise to fix all of your problems by addressing “low T." The truth is, women need it too. Both sexes benefit from it because it maintains bone strength, fertility, and overall mood while developing lean muscle mass and strength.

Testosterone exists in the bloodstream in two forms:

  • Bound: It can latch on to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) or albumin. These proteins are biologically inactive, meaning they only transport and don't exert effects on the body.
  • Free: Activated form, unattached from either. We have approximately 2–3% of it in our body. [1]

Note: The sum of both of these forms is known as total testosterone.

» Find out if vitamin D can restore testosterone levels

Where magnesium comes in

Magnesium is a mineral that makes over 300 reactions in the body possible. [2] As a result, it's involved in various processes like protein synthesis, blood glucose level regulation, blood pressure control, and muscle and nerve optimization.

You can commonly find it in cereal, dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, cocoa, and seafood. [2] Dietitians recommend taking a daily dosage of 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. [2]

Recent literature shows another previously overlooked benefit: it can increase the amount testosterone in your body.

Several studies suggest a correlation between magnesium and free testosterone, helping men and women to maximize its performance-enhancing properties.

A poster of foods rich in magnesium you can use to improve testosterone.

» Check out how ashwagandha affects muscle growth

How InsideTracker measures magnesium

InsideTracker Ultimate Plan measures your levels by analyzing the concentration in your red blood cells (RBCs) through a test called RBC Magnesium. This method is more sensitive compared to just measuring serum levels, which is the fluid portion of your blood. Here's why:

  • RBCs naturally have around three times more magnesium than the serum counterpart.
  • It's also considered a more accurate reflection of your body's magnesium stores

Then, we integrate different data sources to provide a holistic view of your health, and magnesium is just one piece of the many biomarkers we analyze. Based on your results, we build you an action plan with recommendations most likely to have the biggest impact.

Where magnesium and testosterone meet

In a landmark study, researchers examined the role of magnesium in total testosterone production. They observed the impact of strength development in males during a seven week double-blind program.

12 men received supplements while 14 others got placebos and served as the controls. Each subject did three sets of 10 repetitions of leg press and extension three times per week.

As predicted, both groups increased muscle mass and performance. But, results showed a significant increase in testosterone for those that supplemented. [3]

These findings suggest that magnesium may play an essential role in testosterone production and that supplementation combined with resistance training increases production of this hormone in men.

» Learn about testosterone and cortisol ratio

Magnesium, testosterone, and aging

In a large epidemiological study, researchers examined the relationship between magnesium and testosterone in 399 elderly men in the Italian region of Tuscany.

Instead of the authors providing a dietary supplementation, they simply monitored existing serum levels of the mineral. They found that it was positively associated with total testosterone. [5]

The findings show there's a strong correlation between magnesium and free testosterone in elderly men but the basis of the association is uncertain.

» Help how walking backwards helps your healthspan

Athletic benefits of magnesium

In a 2011 study, researchers examined how four weeks of magnesium supplementation and exercise affected free and total testosterone levels. They created three groups of men:

  1. Sedentary males supplementing with 10mg/kg/day.
  2. Tae-kwon do athletes exercising 90-120 minutes/day and taking 10 mg/kg.
  3. Athletes practicing tae-kwon do for 90-120 minutes/day without supplements

Here are the findings:

  • The second group had the greatest increase in testosterone at rest and after exhaustion. [4]
  • The third had higher testosterone at rest and at exhaustion compared to the first.

The authors concluded that magnesium boosts total and free testosterone in men, especially for active individuals. [4] So, supplementation and low-resistance exercise can increase baseline levels of the hormone more than exercise alone. 

» Explore the effects of inadequate sleep in athletes

Exercise and magnesium: A winning combo?

A variety of recent studies show that improving magnesium in your body increases total testosterone. While this is true for men of different age groups, more research is necessary to examine the effects of it on females, and the mechanism behind it.

If you're considering supplementation, consult a healthcare professional to determine if it's right for you and establish the appropriate dosage.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle remains essential for optimal testosterone levels. InsideTracker analyzes data from your bloodwork, DNA, and fitness trackers to assess various biomarkers. You get science-backed recommendations to optimize your biomarkers and live healthier, longer.


[1] Emadi-Konjin, Pasha, Jerald Bain, and Irvin L. Bromberg. "Evaluation of an algorithm for calculation of serum “bioavailable” testosterone (BAT)." Clinical biochemistry 36.8 (2003): 591-596.

[2] Maggio, Marcello, et al. "The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men." International journal of endocrinology2014 (2014).

[3] Brilla, Lorraine R., and Timothy F. Haley. "Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 11.3 (1992): 326-329.

[4] Cinar, Vedat, et al. "Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion." Biological trace element research 140.1 (2011): 18-23.

[5] Maggio, M., et al. "Magnesium and anabolic hormones in older men." International journal of andrology 34.6pt2 (2011): e594-e600.

[6] Maggio, Marcello, et al. "The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men." International journal of endocrinology2014 (2014).

[7] Excoffon, L., et al. "Magnesium effect on testosterone–SHBG association studied by a novel molecular chromatography approach." Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis 49.2 (2009): 175-180.