June 2013

Magnesium Evaluated For Muscle Strength Enhancement

Daily supplementation with magnesium oxide may lack significant benefits on muscle strength and function in middle-aged, overweight women, a study reports.

The human body contains large amounts of the element magnesium. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions. Epsom salts, which contain magnesium sulfate, are commonly applied to the skin and added to baths. Magnesium salts in various forms have been used for centuries as laxatives. Magnesium sulfate has a long history of use for the treatment of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine) and eclampsia (a toxic condition that can lead to seizures) in pregnant women. Muscle strength, an independent predictor of metabolic disorders, disability, and mortality, reduces gradually with advancing age. Little is known about the influence of nutritional intervention on muscle strength in middle-aged.

The aim of the present study was to examine whether magnesium could improve body composition and muscle strength in middle-aged overweight women. The researchers analyzed the effects of magnesium supplementation in a group of 74 healthy, middle-aged, overweight women. They randomly assigned each subject to receive either 250 milligrams of magnesium oxide or a placebo daily for eight weeks. They measured the participants' handgrip strength and knee extension strength, as well as functional mobility.

Lean body mass increased and fat mass decreased in the magnesium group at the end of the study, compared to lean body and fat mass at the beginning of the study. Additionally, handgrip strength and functional mobility improved in the magnesium group. However, significant differences between the magnesium group and the placebo group were lacking for all measures. Changes were lacking in terms of muscle strength and blood levels of magnesium with supplementation.

The researchers concluded that this level of magnesium supplementation may lack effect on muscle strength and function in this population. Further study is needed to confirm these results.

Caffeine and creatine have both been studied for their effectiveness in improving muscle strength. They are both supported by strong scientific evidence for this use. There is good evidence supporting the use of pomegranate, vitamin D, and whey protein for this purpose.

For more information about magnesium, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Moslehi N, Vafa M, Sarrafzadeh J, et al. Does magnesium supplementation improve body composition and muscle strength in middle-aged overweight women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 Jun;153(1-3):111-8. doi: 10.1007/s12011-013-9672-1. Epub 2013 Apr 26. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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