Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Epidemiological study: more muscle strength with more magnesium

The more magnesium elderly people have in their blood, the more muscle strength they have. This is the conclusion from an Italian epidemiological study done at the University of Palermo, which examined eleven hundred people aged between sixty and seventy. Magnesium increased the strength with which the elderly Italians could close a grip spring, the amount of kilograms they could raise with their calves and the weight they could shift doing leg extensions.

Magnesium & muscle
It's a plausible theory that more magnesium would make muscles stronger. The mitochondria in muscle cells need magnesium for the energy molecule ATP>. Cells use magnesium to produce protective enzymes. Too little magnesium results in damage to DNA and other important molecules.

There is a fifteen-year-old study in which a magnesium supplement increased the rate at which novice strength athletes gained strength. [J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Jun;11(3):326-9.] In the study the test subjects consumed 8 mg magnesium per kg bodyweight daily through food and supplements. That's about twice the daily amount recommended by nutritionists. On the other hand, according to American figures, almost seventy percent of the adult population consumes too little magnesium. Twenty percent doesn't even manage to consume half of the recommended daily amount. This is because magnesium is found in foods that we don't eat often, like fruit, tofu, nuts, beans and peas and whole grains. A hidden shortage of magnesium in our diet may explain the success of the old study.

The study was carried out by Lorrie Brilla, a scientist who has also done research on magnesium-creatine [Metabolism. 2003 Sep;52(9):1136-40.] and ZMA.

But back to the Italian epidemiological study. The researchers discovered a relationship between muscle strength and magnesium, which is represented in the diagram below for the strength [technically torque] that the subjects were capable of developing when doing the leg extension. The magnesium concentration in the blood is shown in tertiles: 1 is the 33 percent with the lowest concentration, 2 the 33 percent with an average concentration and 3 represents the 33 percent with the highest concentration.

Epidemiological study: more muscle strength with more magnesium

The clouds of dots in the figure below also give a picture of the relationship between magnesium level and muscle strength. The white circles represent men, the black dots women. The lines drawn show the statistical relationships for men and women.

Epidemiological study: more muscle strength with more magnesium

The relationships are modest but significant.

Other studies
In similar studies researchers previously discovered that higher concentrations of fish fatty acids in the blood kept elderly people fitter, [Rejuvenation Res. 2009 Feb;12(1):25-32.] and that old people who ate a diet containing high amounts of animal protein retain more muscle mass. Vegetable-based proteins don't do this. Other studies show that vitamin D supplements help old people to maintain muscle strength.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Aug;84(2):419-26.

Short-term magnesium supplementation boosts maximal strength 31.07.2015
More magnesium means more testosterone and IGF-1 06.08.2011
More magnesium, more free testosterone 11.11.2008


Magnesium supplement helps you perform to the max despite lack of sleep
A modest-dose magnesium supplement can reduce the negative effects of lack of sleep on performance capacity.

One gram magnesium raises testosterone level by a quarter
A supplement containing a not drastically high dose of magnesium raises athletes' testosterone level.

More magnesium, more free testosterone
Men with more magnesium in their blood are likely to have a higher amount of free testosterone in their body.