A study published several years ago found that giving the mineral magnesium to men engaged in weight training appeared to increase both strength and muscle, The study compared 12 men who each consumed 501.4 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day to a group taking placebos whose
sole source of magnesium was food (an average of 246.5 mg a day). The particular supplement used in the study, magnesium oxide, isn't very soluble and is best consumed with meals, since the secretion of gastric acid aids its absorption. This study featured o double-blind
protocol, meaning that neither the researchers nor the subjects could differentiate between the placebo and the genuine magnesium supplement.
In addition to the smallness of the sample, however, the study had several other flaws. For one, the magnesium levels the subjects weren't calculated before the study was undertaken. What's more, the researchers conducting this study. A more recent study, however, did not come to the same conclusion. This study, also double-blind, examined the effects of taking supplemental magnesium among 32 football players undergoing a six-week strength-training program. The athletes were divided into two groups. Members of one consumed a drink containing 196 mg of magnesium; members of the other drank a concoction with 30.3 mg of magnesium. While both groups gained strength over the course of the study, those taking extra magnesium showed no significant differences in muscle mass or bodyfat levels relative to those who didn't. The authors of this study concluded that for athletes who aren't low in magnesium, taking extra amounts of the mineral is ineffective in "bringing about changes in body composition or strength during a program of intensive weightlifting."
The results of these studies suggest that magnesium offers little in the way of anabolic benefits; nonetheless, this mineral is particularly important for those engaged in bodybuilding and couldn't identify the precise cause of the strength and muscle gains in the magnesium supplemented group. They hypothesized that it was due to increased muscle- protein synthesis - which makes sense, since magnesium activates enzymes involved in protein utilization and synthesis. other forms of exercise. While the body stores about half of its magnesium content in bones, the magnesium circulating in the blood plays a vital role in regulating normal body chemistry. For example, magnesium is needed for production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the cell. ATP is the immediate energy currency of cells, the substance that sparks muscular contraction. Magnesium also activates about 300 different enzymes in the body, many of which ore involved in the use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, Through maintaining electric potential in cellular membranes, magnesium ploys a pivotal role in fostering nerve impulses to muscle. For this reason, magnesium is referred to as on electrolyte.
Magnesium is also intimately associated with the proper functioning of several other minerals, including calcium, sodium, phosphorus and potassium. Most nutrition researchers suggest that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the body should be at least two-to-one. Magnesium, in fact, prevents many of the problems related to calcium in the body. These potential problems include irregularities in heart function (magnesium is a natural calcium-channel blocker and prevents certain types of heart-rhythm disturbances), excess calcium deposits in soft tissue, and the formation of calcium- hydroxide kidney stones. Without adequate magnesium intake, you couldn't retain potassium in cells. Potassium, in turn, is needed for both depositing glycogen in muscle and promoting the hydration status of cells that fosters an anabolic environment. Magnesium also affects exercise endurance through its role in the formation of a red-blood-cell substance called 2,3 DPG, which is vital for oxygen delivery to cells and subsequent energy production, thereby preventing premature fatigue.
The suggested dietary intake of magnesium for adults overage l9 is 350mg a day. Good food sources of the mineral include nuts, seafood, leafy green vegetables and whole-grain products. Diets high in refined foods contain less magnesium, as do meat and dairy foods. For example, milling removes 59% of magnesium from whole-grain products. Cooking food in water also leaches out large quantities of the mineral. Procuring sufficient magnesium shouldn't be a problem, but several considerations must be examined. For instance, diets restricted in food variety - such as those consumed by competitive bodybuilders - may make it more difficult to derive optimal amounts of magnesium solely from food. While some magnesium is lost in sweat, the stress of intense training itself tends to promote magnesium excretion. Excessive alcohol intake also promotes magnesium excretion, although this is rarely a problem with bodybuilders.
Exercise-induced loss of magnesium involves the heightened response of several hormones that oppose the body's conservation of magnesium. These stress hormones include ant diuretic hormone from the posterior pituitary gland, thyroid hormone, aldosterone and cortisol. Cotecholamines, such as epinephrine, are also released during exercise to mobilize body fat as an energy source. The process, however, promotes increased excretion of magnesium in urine. Bodybuilders who use certain drugs, particularly diuretics, are known to excrete far larger amounts of magnesium. This, in turn, promotes side effects related to electrolyte imbalances, such as severe muscle cramping. A graphic display of such side effects is sometimes seen at bodybuilding contests, as some bodybuilders onstage fidget and bend over in an effort to relieve painful muscle spasms.
As they are called upon to step forward and pose, pain often gets even worse. This results from an imbalance between calcium and magnesium. The calcium stimulates an extended and painful muscle contraction that is a form of tetany (i.e., muscle hyperexcitability), which is usually offset by both magnesium and potassium. However, if enough of these minerals hove been lost due to diuretic abuse, the calcium dominates. If this imbalance extends to the heart, a possibly fatal heart-rhythm disturbance may ensue. While it's clear that magnesium is vital to both health and bodybuilding, you don't want to go overboard with it. As with alt minerals, the key to magnesium is balance. As noted earlier, you need to consume a certain proportion of magnesium relative ta other minerals, such as calcium and potassium. If you slightly exceed the U.S. government's suggested daily dose of 350 mg per day, nothing will happen. Go too high, however, and you may suffer from diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting.
Large amounts of magnesium have an osmotic effect in the intestines, drawing in water. This explains the use of concentrated magnesium sources such as Epsam salts and milk of magnesia to treat constipation. But too much magnesium works in reverse, causing excess water in the gut and consequent diarrhea. Normally, the body effectively excretes extra magnesium (and absorbs only about 30-40% of an oral dose), but kidney failure hampers this process. Thus, extra magnesium could prove fatal for kidney patients and for those who have a type of heart disturbance referred to as high-grade atriaventricular block.
Obtaining proper levels of magnesium is a simple matter. I'd suggest taking a multimineral containing the optimal ratio of. calcium and magnesium (most products have this ratio) and other synergistic minerals, such as potassium, for maximum effectiveness. This is particularly important when your caloric consumption is restricted - and hence the variety of foods available to you is limited - to ensure complete nutrient intake.