Magnesium is the fourth most commonly occurring element in the human body, and it plays a vital role in a host of biological interactions within everyday metabolism. It has many benefits, including improved heart health and digestion, but is magnesium good for sore muscles?
Magnesium is good for sore muscles, and the benefits of this mineral for relieving muscle soreness after heavy workouts have been well documented and researched. It effectively treats sore muscles and prevents muscle stiffness and inflammation during and after workouts.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how magnesium works to reduce post-workout muscle cramps, stiffness, and inflammation.
Plus the various types of magnesium that assist in reducing soreness in muscles, and how much magnesium you need to achieve better performance and faster recovery.
- How Does Magnesium Work To Relieve Muscles Soreness
- What Causes Sore Muscles In The Body
- What Types Of Magnesium Are Good For Sore Muscles?
- How Much Magnesium Do You Need Daily?
- What Foods Are High In Magnesium?
- Magnesium Improves Performance
- Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency
- Would Taking Magnesium Before A Workout Help With Sore Muscles?
- Is Magnesium Good For Sore Muscles?
How Does Magnesium Work To Relieve Muscles Soreness
One of the main ways magnesium relieves muscle soreness is to block calcium uptake into the muscles. By preventing them from remaining in a state of contraction, magnesium allows the muscles to relax and recover, reducing the soreness and stiffness.
If you have walked out of the gym after a heavy workout, you will be familiar with that physical sensation of your muscles being stiff. If they couldn’t relax and recover, the next few days would be tough as normal functioning would be impaired, and you’d have some noticeable discomfort.
Your muscles get sore within 24-48 hours of a workout due to a condition called Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness or DOMS. The onset of this happens naturally after heavy training and means that your body is in the process of repairing the muscle tissue damaged during your workout.
Thanks to research in this field and the understanding of how to relieve this discomfort using various types of post-workout supplements (most of which have magnesium!), you can considerably offset the effects of DOMS by utilizing a variety of magnesium-based supplements.
What Causes Sore Muscles In The Body
Muscle stiffness and inflammation are caused by the workout itself, as when you train, you cause tiny micro-tears and rips in the muscle tissue, making them grow and get stronger. The downside is that you could end up experiencing severe stiffness and discomfort post-workout.
As painful as these after-effects may be, they are a good sign. They indicate that your muscles have been worked properly, and now it is a question of recovery, whether by rest alone or a combination of rest, rehydration, and the return of nutrients to the muscles to help them recover faster.
This stiffness is also caused by a build-up of lactic acid, a by-product of cellular metabolism during exercise.
One of the functions of magnesium and other post-workout recovery products is removing the lactic acid from the muscles.
What Types Of Magnesium Are Good For Sore Muscles?
Magnesium comes in various forms and blends, each designed to assist with maintaining healthy body functions within the heart, digestive, and muscular systems.
Still, some forms of magnesium are more effective in relieving muscle soreness – so let’s take a closer look at the options:
Epsom Salts – Magnesium Sulfate
Epsom salts are a household product; most people have a box or two in their grocery cupboard. Still, most people may not know that Epsom salts are magnesium and sulfur blended to form magnesium sulfate.
After exercising, muscles in the affected groups will become stiff and inflamed, spreading to other nearby muscles. Many professional and amateur people will climb into a bath with Epsom Salts as the absorption of magnesium sulfate significantly reduces both inflammation and muscle soreness.
The scientific benefits of an epsom salt bath are still debated, but many athletes aren’t waiting around for a conclusive verdict.
Epsom salts don’t taste great, and as such, most people prefer other magnesium supplements to take orally. In contrast, Epsom salts are usually added to a hot bath, often found in lotions and oils that facilitate muscle recovery and relieve stiffness and soreness.
Magnesium Chloride & Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium Chloride is also a common form of magnesium and is readily available. One of the best characteristics of this mineral is that it is easily absorbed by the body and can get to work fast to relieve muscle soreness and the effects of muscle strains.
This form of magnesium effectively reduces muscle tension, and again, this has to do with blocking calcium from entering the muscle tissue. Calcium causes the muscles to remain taut rather than relax, and magnesium chloride has the opposite effect.
This form of magnesium allows for faster muscle recovery after strenuous workouts; it also assists with more proficient absorption of calcium into the bones, aids digestion, helps improve sleep quality, and repairs and replenishes skin.
Magnesium citrate is often used where absorption levels are low. This form of the mineral is the most easily absorbed into the body. Like other forms of magnesium, it assists with muscle recovery, digestion, and excretion.
These types of magnesium are most commonly taken as a supplement in tablet form.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need Daily?
The Office Of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommends that you should not take more than 350mg of magnesium daily.
In contrast, according to the Food And Nutrition Board, an adult male should take around 420mg of magnesium daily, and an adult female should take about 320mg daily.
Do not take any magnesium supplement that exceeds these doses, as the side effects of excessive magnesium are unpleasant.
Stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle weakness, and low blood pressure are all symptoms of a magnesium overdose, and, at very high levels, it can even be fatal.
So, never exceed recommended dosages and always talk to a certified nutritionist or doctor before taking magnesium to know what supplements would give you the best results.
If you take other medication for a heart condition, antibiotics like tetracycline, or have impaired kidney function, magnesium should only be taken after consultation with your doctor or specialist.
What Foods Are High In Magnesium?
The best way to get your required daily magnesium intake is from your diet.
When you have sufficient information from your diet, the instances and severity of muscle soreness and stiffness are lower than when magnesium intake is less or non-existent.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, beans, and peas are high in magnesium. Other foods like brown rice, bananas, seeds, peaches, avocado, lentils, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, potatoes, paw-paw, and pineapple are all good providers of magnesium.
The highest servings of magnesium are almost always found in nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and peanut butter.
At the same time, spinach has the highest magnesium content among vegetables, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit also have magnesium citrate and magnesium malate, which also have other health benefits such as controlling blood sugar and assisting with digestive function.
Magnesium Improves Performance
Many high-performance athletes and competitors will increase magnesium intake through their diets and only use supplements if and when needed.
Aside from the benefits of post-workout recovery, magnesium also improves performance and increases muscle capacity during training, which is why many pre-workout supplements have magnesium.
During training, magnesium improves muscle relaxation, contraction, and energy metabolism and prevents lactic acid build-up, which can lead to muscle cramps.
Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency
Often, when you get muscle cramps and stiffness outside of working out, this could indicate a magnesium deficiency. If you do experience symptoms of low magnesium level could exacerbate the post-workout effects of muscle soreness and stiffness.
While some discomfort after a strenuous workout should be expected and even welcomed, excessive discomfort could signify an inherent magnesium deficiency. Increasing magnesium intake through diet and supplements would be advisable.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have a magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle cramps in your feet or legs
- Twitching muscles
- Tight or aching muscles
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Restless leg syndrome
- Appetite loss
As you can see, many of these conditions are muscle-related, such as muscle cramps, twitching, and aches or tightness.
The severity of these conditions would increase under a heavy training load, and magnesium may effectively reduce the severity and frequency of these muscle-related symptoms.
While the first thought may be to take magnesium supplements, your first option should be to reconsider your diet – cut out fast foods and sugar and add more foods with magnesium before resorting to supplements.
Would Taking Magnesium Before A Workout Help With Sore Muscles?
If you are using a pre-workout supplement containing magnesium or a fizzy or tablet form of magnesium, taking this before a workout will have some tangible benefits.
During training, magnesium will help reduce the build-up of lactate or lactic acid, which will improve your performance in your training session and reduce muscle soreness after your workout.
You can use a variety of post-workout supplements to assist with recovery and muscle fatigue.
Doing this with every workout can assist with long-term performance and improvement in muscle function, especially for older adults.
As a precaution, it’s a better option to take magnesium with food as this can offset any potential side effects like stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhoea if magnesium is taken on an empty stomach.
Is Magnesium Good For Sore Muscles?
Magnesium is a crucial mineral in human physiology and not just to relieve muscle soreness after a strenuous exercise session. Ensuring your diet has enough magnesium or adding in foods like nuts to boost your magnesium levels will benefit your overall health.
It is widely accepted that magnesium is good for sore muscles, and whether you are using Epsom salts in your bath post-workout or taking a supplement pre-workout, there’s a good chance you will notice less soreness and stiffness in your muscles as a result.