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October 16, 2023
You work out hard. As a result, you experience muscle pain, soreness, and fatigue. Before your next workout, those muscles need to recover. That's where magnesium comes in. This unassuming mineral may just hold the key to alleviating muscle soreness and muscle strain and boosting workout recovery.
In this article, we explore magnesium's ability to help reduce muscle pain so you can decide whether you need to add it to your supplement regimen. Here's what we'll cover:
The mineral magnesium is vital for many biochemical reactions inside the human body (1). One of nutrition's hidden heroes, it works in the background to support our health and wellbeing. Magnesium is readily available in the foods we eat and is also available as a supplement.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 enzymatic processes, including regulating muscle contraction, energy production, nerve signaling, cardiovascular health, and bone strength. It has also shown itself to be able to reduce muscle soreness, enhance sleep quality, and boost post-workout recovery.
You can find out more about magnesium for sore muscles in the 7 Best Electrolyte Supplements To Fuel Your Workout.
Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms, each with particular qualities and possible health advantages. Here, we'll concentrate on the kinds of magnesium supplements frequently consumed, but we'll also touch on other forms, such as bath salts and topical applications:
In this section, we go deep into the specifics to learn how magnesium for muscle pains can boost performance, help relieve delayed onset muscle soreness, and boost your workout recovery.
Magnesium's ability to bring relief to your aching muscles comes from a combination of the following factors:
A 2022 study looked at the effect of magnesium supplementation on muscle soreness and performance among college-aged male and female subjects. The magnesium group took 350 mg of magnesium per day for ten days. Compared to a placebo group, the magnesium group had significantly reduced delayed onset muscle soreness, as well as a reduced rate of perceived exertion and improved perceived recovery (2).
The length of time it takes for magnesium to bring muscle relief can vary quite a bit between individuals. Here are the key factors that affect it:
Although most people start to feel some relief from their muscle pain, remember that magnesium is not a magic bullet for severe pain or recent muscular injuries. A healthcare expert should be consulted for a thorough treatment plan if you have a specific muscle injury.
Magnesium has gained acceptance as a viable natural treatment for easing muscle cramps, and research suggests that it may be helpful in some circumstances.
To start, magnesium is a crucial mineral for the health of muscles because it helps control how they contract. It does so by opposing calcium, which is necessary for muscular contraction. By preventing the excessive calcium build-up in muscle cells, magnesium helps reduce the risk of cramping.
Magnesium can be lost through heavy sweating or activity, which can cause imbalances and raise the possibility of cramping. As such, magnesium dietary supplements help reestablish the electrolyte equilibrium.
Overactive nerves can contribute to cramping in the muscles. Magnesium helps soothe nerves by preventing the production of neurotransmitters that might cause muscles to contract.
Finally, magnesium promotes healthy blood flow, ensuring muscles receive enough oxygen and nutrients. This improved circulation, especially after a workout, might lower the chance of cramping.
Most interestingly, there is some promising research regarding the use of magnesium for cramps. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that supplementing with magnesium reduced the incidence of leg cramping in elderly women (3).
Anecdotal evidence also supports the use of magnesium for muscle cramps. Here are a couple of comments from users on Reddit:
"I like taking 100-200 mg magnesium malate in the morning and 100-200 mg magnesium glycinate at night to dull muscle pain/cramps. Sometimes I'll use a topical spray at night if it's really bothering me. (source)"
"Hell yeah, magnesium has nearly completely eliminated my calf and foot cramps. I started taking 400-600mg/day back in early summer, and the only time I've had any since has been when I don't take mag for a week or so. It is definitely one of my favorite supplements because it has made a noticeable impact. I take the taurate and malate forms, but it seems everyone has their own preference. Definitely worth exploring the different types, most are pretty cheap besides threonate and magtein." (source)
It is important to note that magnesium deficiency is not the only cause of muscle cramps. They can also be caused by dehydration, excess effort, and specific medical disorders.
Yes, magnesium can definitely help with post-workout muscle recovery in more than one way:
Here's what Reddit users have to say about the effectiveness of magnesium post-workout:
"So, a friend of mine suggested Magnesium supplements, and for me, it has been an absolute game changer when it comes to helping with DOMS from exercising.
I found when I reached mid 20s all of a sudden even light exercise would cause my muscles to get super sore and stiff to the point where I'd avoid exercise for days to weeks after even a mild exercise session. I tried everything I could think of- stretching before and after, incorporating hot yoga, ice, warm bath with salts, self massage, bengay... they all helped a bit but I was usually left being even less motivated with painfully sore and stiff leg muscles (especially calves.)
After taking magnesium, I rarely, if ever, get DOMS, and it's a manageable amount." (source)
"Replenishing my electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium) after a tough workout day definitely seems to help me bounce back better too. I usually take 300mg magnesium citrate, 1 tsp of potassium salt substitute and 1 tsp of kosher salt and mix it all up in a blender bottle with Mio and sip on it for a few hours. It definitely helps curb my fatigue and soreness after doing a 10k." (source)
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium, as set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States, is as follows:
Recommended dosages for athletes and active people are generally higher than those for sedentary people, in the 400-600 mg range daily. This is in line with the dosages used in clinical trials.
Magnesium has many other health advantages beyond helping with workout recovery. Here's a rundown:
The following foods are excellent sources of magnesium:
Learn more about the many health benefits of bone broth here.
Magnesium is an excellent workout recovery aid. While you can get a decent amount from food, taking a daily supplement is the most efficient way to get a consistent and adequate dosage.
Our favorite magnesium supplement is Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate. Each capsule contains 150 mg of magnesium citrate, one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium. We recommend taking two capsules per day for a dosage of 300 mg.
Check our review of the 7 Best Magnesium Supplements on today's market.
Still have questions about magnesium for muscle pain? Here are the answers to four of the most common questions we get on the subject:
Whether you should take your magnesium either before or after an exercise depends on your goals. Magnesium supplements can improve hydration, energy generation, and muscle performance before exercise.
On the other hand, magnesium post-workout helps with muscle healing, replacing lost electrolytes, and encouraging better sleep. Consider splitting your magnesium intake up to reap the benefits of both, or speak with a healthcare professional for advice tailored to your needs and level of exercise.
Yes, magnesium can help muscles recover from injury. It promotes the healing of damaged tissue, eases inflammation, and helps muscles relax. Magnesium also aids in reducing muscle cramping and spasms, which are frequent in sore muscles.
Magnesium supplements should, however, complement other parts of injury management, such as rest, physical therapy, and correct nutrition, so it's crucial to speak with a healthcare professional for a whole treatment plan.
Yes, consuming too much magnesium can harm muscles. Extremely high doses may result in exhaustion, muscular wasting, and, in severe cases, heart issues. Before taking high-dose magnesium supplements, see a healthcare provider to ensure you stay below safe limits and avoid any adverse effects on muscular function.
Magnesium supplementation should be avoided by anyone with serious kidney issues, a history of allergies to magnesium supplements, or particular medical diseases such as myasthenia gravis.
Magnesium is crucial for promoting muscle health and recovery. Due to its anti-inflammatory characteristics, function in the creation of energy, and capacity to replace electrolytes, it helps to ease muscle aches, encourage relaxation, and speed up recovery after exercise. As such, it's a smart supplement to add to your workout program
Magnesium citrate from Pure Encapsulations is a standout choice for dietary supplements. It offers a straightforward approach to make sure you meet your daily magnesium needs with 150 mg of highly absorbable magnesium citrate per capsule.
Check out our review of the 7 Best Magnesium Supplements Of 2023 to learn more and grab some magnesium to start recovering better.
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