When it comes to muscle recovery, there are various options available. The most fundamental approach is to allow the muscle sufficient time to rest between exercise sessions. However, other remedies involve ensuring that the muscles receive the appropriate nutrients for faster and more efficient recovery. This is where magnesium plays a crucial role.
Magnesium’s Role in Muscle Recovery
Magnesium (Mg) is a vital nutrient with numerous health benefits, particularly in supporting healthy muscle function. It operates by partially blocking calcium uptake, allowing muscles to relax after strenuous workouts. Without sufficient magnesium levels, muscle contractions can persist, resulting in reduced functionality and significant discomfort. Research indicates that optimal magnesium levels can enhance exercise performance, such as increased strength, power, extension, flexion, rotation, and jumping. Magnesium supplementation also offers additional health benefits, such as improving gait speed and chair stand time in older women. Maintaining adequate magnesium levels is crucial for daily functioning, in addition to exercise recovery. Another significant advantage of magnesium is its impact on other nutrients. For instance, it activates vitamin D, whose low levels can result in muscle weakness and pain, causing a decline in muscle mass and athletic performance. Thus, maintaining proper magnesium levels ensures a sufficient supply of other essential vitamins, which enhances muscle function and recovery.
Signs you may have low magnesium
Determining whether a low magnesium level is a concern can be determined by several common indicators, ranging from mild to severe, including:
- Decreased appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or weakness
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle soreness
- Irregular heartbeat
In severe cases, magnesium deficiency can lead to reduced levels of other nutrients, including calcium and potassium, further disrupting the body’s balance and leading to additional health problems. Without adequate magnesium levels, the body cannot function efficiently, causing a deficiency in other necessary nutrients.
How to increase your magnesium intake?
Detecting low magnesium levels can be achieved through a blood test, typically known as a total serum magnesium test, which may be conducted during an annual physical or requested by a doctor. Once low magnesium levels are identified, the simplest way to increase magnesium intake is through diet. Magnesium-rich foods include spinach and pumpkin seeds, as well as nuts such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts. Alternatively, transdermal magnesium remedies can be used, such as an Epsom salt bath that contains magnesium sulfate, which can hasten the healing process and provide pain relief. Epsom salt not only soothes sore muscles but also offers mental health benefits by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, according to the Cleveland Clinic. For a more targeted approach, topical magnesium products, such as magnesiumbody lotion, oil, cream, gel, or balm, may be applied directly to the affected muscle. If magnesium levels are severely depleted, supplementation may be necessary, with several options available.
Best types of magnesium to take to improve muscle recovery
While we are often informed about the importance of magnesium in our diets, what we may not know is that there are numerous types available, making the choice of magnesium supplement more complex. So, which ones are available, and which may be best for muscle recovery? Here are three options: Magnesium sulfate: This is considered the most effective magnesium form for muscle recovery. In fact, a study even found that it can prevent the body’s natural shiver response when emerging from anesthesia. Magnesium chloride: This form of magnesium is easily obtainable and widely available. Interestingly, a study revealed that magnesium chloride can even relax rock oysters, which are known for their strong contractions during shucking. Magnesium citrate: This type of magnesium is the easiest to digest, making it ideal if low magnesium levels are due to absorption issues. Other magnesium types provide different but equally significant benefits. For instance, magnesium glycinate helps with stress management, magnesium malate aids in blood sugar control, and magnesium taurate can reduce high blood pressure.
It is essential to avoid magnesium supplements that provide a higher-than-necessary dose. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommends a magnesium supplement should not exceed 350mg to avoid the risk of diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Before taking magnesium supplements, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider if you are currently taking other medications. This helps to avoid any possible interference with other medical treatments. Your physician may also recommend an appropriate magnesium dosage, depending on your current health and magnesium levels.