By Elizabeth Foley
Did you know that magnesium deficiency can increase muscle pain, cramping, and discomfort? This is because the flow of magnesium and calcium play a crucial role in the process of muscle contraction and relaxation. For muscles to function properly, calcium is needed for contraction, then magnesium is needed to control the transmission of impulses from nerves to muscles for relaxation. This means that when magnesium levels are low, you are more likely to experience muscle pain, cramping, and inflammation because your muscles can not fully relax.
Find out which type of magnesium is best to ease each form of pain.
Many of us have experienced muscle soreness and fatigue after a strenuous exercise.. A study investigating magnesium supplements’ use for recovery after exercise offers hope to those looking to relieve muscle soreness. This study found that magnesium supplementation reduced the response of IL-6, a cytokine produced by muscle contractions, which enhanced recovery by decreasing muscle soreness after engaging in strenuous physical activity (1).
Magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom Salt, is a great choice for managing muscle soreness because this form of magnesium releases sulfate ions that are easily absorbed through the skin. You can soak in baths with magnesium sulfate flakes to ease soreness.
Muscle cramps can vary from a surprising twitch beneath the skin all the way up to an agonizing level of pain. Either way, muscle cramps are no fun! When magnesium levels are low, muscle cramps are likely to set in because you need enough magnesium to help your muscles relax. Magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker after contraction and our muscles can contract too much when magnesium levels are low. In a study about the benefits of magnesium supplements for muscle cramping, researchers found participants' cramp rate reduced by 25% or more with supplements compared to a placebo (2).
One of the leading types of magnesium for dealing with muscle cramps is glycinate. In the previously mentioned study, magnesium glycinate was the most effective treatment of leg cramps. Magnesium glycinate is especially important because it is essential for the muscular system to function properly. Magnesium glycinate is formed from the amino acid glycine.
Inflammation happens when white blood cells are sent to an area of the body in an effort to protect against injury or infection. For instance, when you twist your ankle, inflammation presents itself as swelling, heat and redness in the area of injury. Inflammation can be acute due to a new injury or illness, or an ongoing chronic condition. Several factors contribute to chronic inflammation including genetic predisposition, diet and sleep patterns. The only way to know for sure that you are dealing with chronic inflammation is medical testing done by your healthcare provider. If you are dealing with pain caused by inflammation, then magnesium may offer relief. One study followed participants whose magnesium intake was less than 50% of the recommended amount. In this study, individuals taking magnesium supplements were 22% less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein, which are present in blood when there is inflammation (3).
Magnesium citrate is a top-rated magnesium type for pain caused by inflammation. Clinical trials found that magnesium citrate is the type of magnesium that digests most easily due to bioavailability (4). When the body is dealing with a chronic inflammation condition, bioavailability is especially important since possible absorption issues may be connected to underlying conditions. For this reason, magnesium citrate is used to manage knee pain and osteoarthritis, two conditions with associated pain from inflammation.
Finding the Right Magnesium Supplement
Find out more about magnesium and its recommended uses at Health By Principle. We offer all-natural, complete magnesium supplements that are made in the United States with a special blend of four magnesium types: malate, taurate, glycinate, and citrate.
1. Steward, C. J. (2019, October 17). One week of magnesium supplementation lowers IL-6, muscle soreness and increases post-exercise blood glucose in response to downhill running. European Journal of Applied Physiology. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-019-04238-y?error=cookies_not_supported&code=835ff074-7689-43c8-90ef-604ad662ae15
2. Garrison, S. R. (2020). Magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps - Garrison, SR - 2020 | Cochrane Library. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009402.pub3/abstract
3. Supakatisant, C. (2015, April 11). Oral magnesium for relief in pregnancy-induced leg cramps: a randomised controlled trial. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22909270/
4. Magnesium supplement intake and C-reactive protein levels in adults. (2006, May 1). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027153170600092
5. Walker, A. F. (2003, September 16). Mg citrate found more bioavailable than other Mg preparations in a randomised, double-blind study. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14596323/
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