Have you been working out a lot lately? Where your muscles are sore, needing extra repair?
If so, you may be looking for something to help speed up the recovery process – that’s where magnesium Mg can help.
Magnesium is a powerful mineral that helps nerve signaling while delivering nutrients into the muscles – among many other benefits which you can read in my in-depth article on magnesium here.
Some of the main benefits of magnesium supplementation are as follows. Relaxation and reduced muscle cramping, improved nerve signaling, increases glycolysis and stress relief to name a few.
For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the key components where magnesium can help with muscle recovery.
Yes, Magnesium Can Help Muscle Recovery
Magnesium can help with muscle recovery because it’s a cofactor of enzymatic reactions. These enzymatic reactions take place in many of our muscle building processes.
Some of the enzyme functions are the creation of creatine kinase, protein kinase, ATPases, and the transmembrane electrolyte flux – all of these processes are vital for muscle growth and repair. (01)
How Magnesium Works: A Summary
As previously mentioned, magnesium is responsible for helping many enzymatic reactions take place.
In fact, it’s linked to over 300 reactions that regulate many diverse biochemical processes. These include; protein synthesis, muscle, and nerve function. (02)
Two highly important reactions that take place, which is associated with muscle repair are; ‘creatine‘ and ‘protein‘ kinase. Which is the formation of creatine with the use of ATP, and the change of proteins to be used throughout the body responsible for growth and repair.
“In biochemistry, a kinase is an enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of phosphate groups from high-energy, phosphate-donating molecules to specific substrates. This process is known as phosphorylation, where the substrate gains a phosphate group and the high-energy ATP molecule donates a phosphate group.” (03)
What does this mean exactly?
This means that Mg allows for optimal phosphorylation to happen. Phosphorylation alters proteins, to then be used in the cycle of adenosine trisphosphate ATP production.
The more efficient our energy production process is, the quicker our muscles will repair. This is because more nutrients will be delivered into damaged cells, thus speeding up the healing process.
Enhanced Glycolysis For Muscle Repair
Magnesium has been shown to help the body improve glycolysis, which is the breakdown of carbohydrates to be used as energy.
Therefore, if you’re training frequently and your muscles need repair, using Mg will supply additional glucose into your muscles. For reference, glucose is the main fuel for muscle performance and repair – straight into the muscle.
Furthermore, glucose assists the transportation of other nutrients and amino acids into the muscles, such as leucine (the muscle building amino acid). This makes magnesium a smart choice when it comes to muscle repair.
Protein Delivery For Muscle Building
As previously mentioned, Mg is a cofactor (required for an enzyme’s activity) of any process that helps our muscles to grow. One of these, which especially important to muscle repair, is protein delivery.
“Magnesium is also necessary for structural function of proteins, nucleic acids or mitochondria”. (04)
Increased Muscular Energy For Strength
Just like in the way magnesium assists protein delivery, it also improves energy production – being a constituent of our energy production system within the mitochondria.
The mitochondria’s role is to take amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose to be converted into ATP.
Magnesium allows the transportation of these elements to take place, assisting with the delivery of energy into our cells – including our muscles for enhanced growth and repair.
How Much Magnesium To Use?
As mentioned below, the RDA states the upper limit for men is roughly 400 mg, while women it is 300 mg. However, for those with increased activity levels may need to watch their doses carefully, as magnesium is easily lost through sweat and urine.
To clarify, if you workout often with intensity. Where your fluid intake is high, and you perspire a lot during workouts. You may need to keep your magnesium intake slightly on the higher end.
“Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Mg is 400–420 mg for males and 310–320 mg for females above 19 years old”. (05)
To summarise, does magnesium help muscle recovery? Absolutely yes. It’s a mineral that we need to function at our best.
Magnesium helps to shuttle important energy substrates into the mitochondria to be used as energy – either to supply us with bursts of ‘energy’ or to help repair damaged muscles. Along with other benefits such as relaxation and stress relief.
For dosing, I’d suggest sticking between 250 mg and 420 mg. However, if you’re more active, where your training schedule has you putting in a lot of effort. Such as upwards of 5 times a week. Then you may need to increase your amount accordingly. However, avoid taking large doses, stay below 420 mg per day where possible.
Overall I’d highly recommend magnesium to anyone who trains on a regular basis, especially for those who are looking to see their muscle recovery improve.
(01) National Library of Medicine – National Institute of Health: Magnesium Basics. (source)
(02) Health Professional Fact Sheet – Magnesium (source)
(03) Wikipedia – Kinase. (source)
(04) Table of Enzymatic Reactions. (source)
(05) Magnesium Fact Sheet For Health Professionals. (source)