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When to Take Magnesium

Quick Summary

  • 420mg per day for men
  • Take before bed for relaxation benefits
  • Use as needed to prevent or treat muscle cramping
  • Often taken as ZMA

Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is essential to maintain good health. It is one of the seven essential minerals that people need to consume in relatively large quantities on a daily basis, and deficiency has been linked to conditions including insulin resistance, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis.

We need magnesium because it is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including those that produce energy, synthesise protein and control our metabolism.

Magnesium has been called 'The muscle mineral' and a fair amount of research has recently come out showing that magnesium supplementation has the potential to enhance strength and naturally boost levels of anabolic hormones including testosterone and IGF-1. This is great news for anyone training to build muscle.

Magnesium supplementation will not be news to anyone involved in endurance sports. This mineral has a vital role in the relaxation of muscle after a contraction. When excess magnesium is lost through sweat, usually as the result of sustained activity, the acute deficiency of magnesium can cause the muscles to cramp. This can be remedied by taking in extra magnesium. Sufferers of night time cramps also find magnesium supplements effective in easing their symptoms. A lot of people use this mineral as a relaxant, and studies have shown that it can decrease levels of stress hormones, including cortisol.

On top of this, a recent study showed that people with higher magnesium levels had lower levels of inflammation. This makes magnesium a great supplement to speed up muscle recovery.

How to take Magnesium

The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 420mg/day for men, and about three quarters of this for dosage women. Taking magnesium on an empty stomach is considered the best for absorption, but this may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people. It is fine to take magnesium with food, but it's best to avoid foods that are very high in fibre, or calcium, because these can interfere with the absorption. On the other hand, some vitamins, like C and D, are thought to improve absorption and maximise the effects of magnesium. Magnesium may cause stomach upset in some people, which may be alleviated by splitting the daily amount into two doses.

Magnesium is often taken as part of a ZMA supplement or a multivitamin.

Best Time to take Magnesium

The best time to take magnesium varies according to what it is being used for. It may be taken as needed to prevent cramping, and for general use, magnesium is fine taken at any time of day. Because magnesium has calming properties, it is very popular to take it at night to assist sleep and relaxation, and to stimulate muscle repair.

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