As a Myotherapist and student studying Nutrition I am constantly asked by clients how taking magnesium can aid in muscle function.
Magnesium is a mineral that is present in relatively large amounts in the body. Researchers estimate that the average person’s body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, and about half of that is in the bones. Magnesium is important in more than 300 chemical reactions that keep the body working properly. People get magnesium from their diet, but sometimes magnesium supplements are needed if magnesium levels are too low.
One way magnesium helps with muscle function is that it aids in muscle contraction. Your skeletal muscle cells contain long complex fibers made up of the proteins actin and myosin. These two proteins work together to promote contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers, a process that ultimately allows for movement. Magnesium helps to provide these contractile fibers with the energy needed to carry this out. As a result, deficiency in magnesium can hinder your muscles’ ability to do work, leading to muscle weakness.
Magnesium also helps your muscles by promoting proper nerve signalling. Each muscle in your body connects to a number of nerves, through structures called neuromuscular junctions. Nerve impulses stimulate the appropriate muscle fiber, triggering muscle contraction and movement. Magnesium supports proper nerve conduction by controlling the transport of ions (the charged molecules your nerve cells use to generate electrical impulse). As a result, magnesium plays a essential role in signalling at the neuromuscular junction, to aid in the communication between your nervous system and muscles.
*For intake guideline; Adult men require 420 mg of the mineral, while women 320 mg of magnesium, each day. An easy way to remember foods that are good magnesium sources is to think fibre. Foods that are high in fibre are generally high in magnesium. Dietary sources of magnesium include legumes, whole grains, vegetables (especially broccoli, squash, and green leafy vegetables), seeds, and nuts (especially almonds). Other sources include dairy products, meats, chocolate, and coffee.
If you wish to take magnesium supplements, or any supplement, consult with your doctor to determine whether it’s appropriate and safe for you.
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
The Medical Journal of Australia.
*Guideline only: Please consult your general practitioner before taking Magnesium.