Take magnesium post-workout to get stronger and speed recovery from intense training. Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients for all athletes, recreational or competitive, because it gets significantly depleted in the body after strenuous training.
A new study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise tested levels of magnesium and other electrolytes in men after competing in a marathon. Results showed that magnesium was the electrolyte that was most depleted, followed by potassium, and that the lack of magnesium resulted in significant oxidative stress. Even more concerning, the low magnesium may have contributed to an alteration of heart function in the left ventricle, putting the runners at increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beats).
This is one of the first studies to show that low magnesium due to depletion from exercise plays a role in altered left ventricular function. Low magnesium likely contributed to the large inflammatory response in the form if interleukin-6 since adequate magnesium decreases the expression of genes that produce inflammation after intense exercise. Magnesium also regulates nerve and muscle tone and is needed in ample quantities for muscle contractions.
Part of the reason magnesium is so quickly depleted during exercise is that magnesium also regulates blood pressure and insulin sensitivity in the body—the activity of both are increased during exercise.
Take away from this study the understanding that adequate magnesium is necessary for optimal athletic performance, whether strength or aerobic. Magnesium may speed recovery and help protect you from inflammation due to how it regulates gene expression. Researchers suggest taking 500 mg a day of magnesium from magnesium bound with taurate, ororate, glycinate, or fumarate for recovery and performance.
Scherr, J., Schuster, T., et al. Repolarization Perturbation and Hypomagnesaemia after Extreme Exercise. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.