Magnesium supplements aren’t the most interesting performance aids around, especially compared to a lot of the other supplements I’ve reviewed on this site. They aren’t the hottest new nootropic guaranteed to make you as smart as Stephen Hawking or a crazy test booster promising to jack you up like a gorilla. No, magnesium can seem a little boring actually, and you can usually get enough from food as long as you follow a decent enough diet.
So why did I decide to review magnesium tabs then? A couple reasons. First and foremost, I’ve been dealing with some extra muscle soreness lately after workouts. Could be from the fact that I’m just pushing extra hard lately, which I’m sure is part of the cause. But sometimes I’ve been feeling like it’s a little too much soreness even considering, and I also feel the soreness coming on a little earlier during the workout as well.
True, best remedy for that is probably a little extra recovery time, maybe a few days off or a week and then right back at it. Honestly don’t really want to take off though right now, even though I know it would probably help. Besides, it’s not crippling soreness, just a little more than usual.
Magnesium for Muscle Soreness
One of the most important minerals in muscle function is magnesium for sure, especially in helping muscle contraction. I’ve tried epsom salt baths in the past and they seemed to loosen up my muscles pretty well, also may have helped with post-workout soreness. But I’m not into taking baths all the time, so just wanted to have an easy pill to take.
Second, most regular people don’t really take performance supplements necessarily, they tend to take basic vitamins and minerals. Usually I just focus on workout supplements here, so I thought it would be a good change up to try out a so called normal supplement to see if there were any noticeable effects.
I didn’t have any particular magnesium supplement in mind, so I just went to Vitamin Shoppe and took a look at what they had out. There are many different forms of magnesium (magnesium taurate, glycinate, oxide, citrate…) Didn’t really know too much about the different forms going in, but got to talking to the guy behind the counter and he seemed to think that glycinate would be good for muscle soreness.
So I bought Kal’s Magnesium Glycinate 400. You have to take 2 tabs to get the 400mg, which I did for my usual 30 day review. Kept everything else constant, including my diet and workout plans for the month. Workout wise did a pretty even balance of weights and cardio, sticking with 3 weight days a week but going heavy. For cardio did a lot of biking, a little more than usual, but also did runs of about 4 miles or so 2-3 times per week also. I always eat a balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and fresh vegetables, so this stayed the same too.
My 30 Day Experience with KAL Magnesium Glycinate
I wasn’t expecting anything earth shattering from taking the magnesium, so wasn’t really anticipating too much difference the first week. It went as expected, no real change in how I felt. But then again didn’t feel too bad either.
Week 2 was a lot of the same thing. Soreness wasn’t getting any worse, which was a good thing obviously. Any improvement was hard to see, so if there was a benefit at this point, it wasn’t clear.
By the third and fourth weeks, it was still pretty much the same story. No worsening of soreness was apparent. I felt certain days that seemed to be a little better with less soreness, but other days (especially after heavy weight workouts) the soreness came on pretty quickly and lasted for several days, with the day after being very sore. Like I said I expect muscle soreness after a heavy workout, if you don’t get sore at all you’re probably doing something wrong. But as far as any impact felt from the magnesium goes, I didn’t really notice much of a difference after 30 days.
One thing I did start to notice around week 3 was that I was getting some stomach bloating and started going to the bathroom more. A side effect of too much magnesium is gastrointestinal upset and your body tries to get rid of the excess magnesium through your bowels.
At this point I could have backed off the dosage at 400mg per day and dropped down a pill a day to 200mg. But since I hadn’t really noticed any benefits yet from the magnesium tabs, I wanted to give it a fair shot at making a difference, and didn’t want me feeling no effects throughout the full 30 day period to be due to not taking enough. So I made the decision to continue with the full 400mg daily dose.
Throughout the last weeks or two I could definitely notice the gastro effects. They weren’t terrible but they were definitely there and would have been pretty annoying had I continued taking the magnesium. For me, the lack of much benefit at all plus the sides makes it not worth it for me to recommend it for muscle soreness.
On the other hand I have a very good diet, so I probably get all the magnesium I need from my food. Plus I think my soreness is probably just due to overwork right now and I need a couple days off. For someone that doesn’t get enough magnesium in their diet, though, supplementing may definitely help. If your diet covers all your nutritional bases though, you probably won’t see much effect from just taking more magnesium.