Background: Sleep deprivation, malnutrition and lack of physical activity are contemporary stress-related factors present in the student population. Stress activates the HPA and often suppresses the HPG axis, but also influences cytokine synthesis and consequently regulates immune response. Since magnesium deficiency facilitates negative pathophysiological consequences, a reasonable question imposes, wheth er Mg supplementation might correct the adrenal/go - n adal hormone balance and immuno-endocrine function.
Methods: Fifteen male students were given 2 × 250 mg Mg for four weeks. Serum levels of FSH, LH, testosterone (T), ACTH and cortisol (C) were measured before and after supplementation and the T/C ratio was calculated. Furthermore, IL-6, red blood cells (RBC), hemoglobin (Hb), white blood cells (WBC) and the WBC differential were measured.
Results: Despite no change in the serum level of ACTH, a statistically significant (p<0.05) decrease in the serum cortisol level appeared, accompanied with an IL-6 level reduction (p<0.05) after Mg supplementation. Analysis of the pituitarygonadal axis hormones showed an increasing trend of the FSH level (p=0.087), and a significant increase (p<0.05) in the T/C ratio. An RBC count increase (p<0.001) was found, along with a decrease in the percentage of neutrophils (p< 0.05), and a trend toward a lymphocyte percentage increase.
Conclusions: The results suggest that chronic oral magnesium supplementation in male students improves the balance of pituitary-gonadal and pituitary-adrenal hormones and is involved in the regulation of the basal IL-6 level.
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