Magnesium

tickBoosts energy
tickBoosts testosterone
tickMuscle Builder
tickHormone control
tickMineral
tickVitamin
How does it work?
The mineral magnesium is important for every organ in the body, particularly the heart, muscles, and kidneys. It also contributes to the composition of teeth and bones. Most importantly, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, including the ′burning' of fat [2].
Who is it used for?
Studies show that some forms of magnesium (magnesium aspartate) combined with zinc can raise both total and free testosterone levels, while also accelerating gains in muscle size and strength. This combination of zinc and magnesium aspartate (ZMA) is suitable for use by all athletes wanting to gain lean muscle size and strength, including bodybuilders, rugby players, sprinters and other strength athletes.
How does it work?
Magnesium is found in whole unprocessed foods in the diet. However, different methods for calculating amounts of magnesium in foods have often lead to conflicting results. Too much coffee, soda, salt, or alcohol intake as well as heavy menstrual periods, excessive sweating, and prolonged stress can also lower magnesium levels. Fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps, depression, loss of appetite, listlessness, and potassium depletion can all result from a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is available in many foods. However, most people probably do not get as much magnesium as they should from their diet. Just one training session can increase magnesium losses by 21% [4]. Studies also show a significant loss of magnesium in sweat [3]. These deficiencies have led researchers to study mineral supplementation in some depth, with some extremely promising results.

Magnesium increased muscular performance far more quickly than those taking a 'dummy' supplement [2]. Combined with zinc, magnesium has also been shown to accelerate gains in muscle size and strength. The study, conducted at Western Washington University, followed two groups of American Footballers during an 8-week training programme [5]. One group was given ZMA, while the second group used a dummy supplement. ZMA supplementation led to a dramatic 33.5% increase in testosterone. In contrast, testosterone levels actually dropped in the control group.

IGF-1 (a powerful hormone that plays a vital role in muscle growth) is normally lowered in response to regular exercise. However, despite the intensive training programme, ZMA users experienced a 3.6% increase in IGF-1 levels. In non-ZMA users, IGF-1 levels dropped by a worrying 21.5%. These powerful effects on hormone levels also had an impressive effect on muscle strength. ZMA users demonstrated gains in strength that were 252% larger than the control group. Typical zinc and magnesium supplements have not been shown to promote increases in free testosterone, total testosterone and insulin-like growth factor. ZMA is so effective that it has been patented (US Patent #4,764,633 and #5,278,329).

Some experts believe that creatine combined with magnesium is a highly effective way to enhance and extend the effects of creatine on muscle size and strength. Magnesium has been shown to enhance strength and energy levels taken on it's own. Creatine monohydrate has also been shown to be very effective. However some users experience stomach discomfort when they use creatine on its own.

By creating a creatine-magnesium chelate, creatine can be protected from the harsh environment of the stomach acid. When minerals such as magnesium become surrounded by and bonded to amino acids, in a stable form, this is referred to as chelation. Chelation is a natural means for the body to transport minerals across the intestinal wall as part of digestion. A creatine-magnesium chelate helps to enhance absorption of creatine and decrease stomach discomfort. Some initial research shows it is better absorbed and tolerated than traditional creatine monohydrate. It also mixes well in water.
How do I use it?
Nuts and grains are good sources of magnesium. Beans, dark green vegetables, fish, and meat also contain significant amounts. ZMA should be taken on an empty stomach before bedtime. Approximately 20 to 30 milligrams of zinc and 400-500 milligrams of magnesium, taken at night, seems to be necessary to optimise effects. Some athletes also use ZMA prior to exercise.
What results can I expect?
If someone is deficient in magnesium, supplemental magnesium will help to eliminate symptoms of the deficiency, such a smuscle weakness and cramps, depression, loss of appetite, and listlessness. Most people using ZMA report an increase in muscle growth, greater feelings of aggression and drive, and an overall improvement in well-being, usually after 10-14 days of use. A creatine-magnesium chelate can also enhance the absorption of creatine and decrease stomach discomfort.

What can it be combined with?
Vitamin B6 increases the amount of magnesium that can enter cells. As a result, these two nutrients are often taken together. Magnesium may compete for absorption with other minerals, particularly calcium. Taking a supplement that contains a range of vitamins and minerals avoids this potential problem. Magnesium can also be combined with zinc, preferably in the form of ZMA for maximum results. Taking a magnesium supplement with creatine monohydrate is not the same as using a creatine-magnesium chelate, and will not provide the same benefits as the chelated compound.

1. Moorkens G, Manuel y Keenoy B, Vertommen J. (1997). Magnesium deficit in a sample of the Belgian population presenting with chronic fatigue. Magnesium Research, 10, 329-337
2. Lukaski, H.C. (2000). Magnesium, zinc, and chromium nutriture and physical activity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72, 585S-593S
3. Brilla, L.R., & Haley, T.F. (1992). Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 11, 326-329
4. Deuster, P.A., Dolev, E., Kyle, S.B., Anderson, R.A., & Schoonmaker, E.B. (1987). Magnesium homeostasis during high-intensity anaerobic exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 62, 545-550
5. Brilla, L.R., & Conte, V. (1999). A novel zinc and magnesium formulation (ZMA) increases anabolic hormones and strength in athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 31, 483
6. Disch G, Classen HG, Haubold W, Spatling L. (1994). Interactions between magnesium and iron. In vitro studies. Arzneimittelforschung, 44, 647-50

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