People holding kettlebells in gym

Give your workout a boost with magnesium

08 Jun 2023


This clever mineral is key for energy, muscle and nerve function. Here’s how magnesium can help you up your game.

Like calcium, potassium and sodium, magnesium is a macro-mineral; it’s one of the six essential minerals supplied by our diet.

But many of us aren’t getting enough1, which is bad news for our bodies and brains. Magnesium can help you get the most out of a workout too, so how can we make sure we’re consuming enough?

What can magnesium do for you?

Loads! Magnesium is needed for more than 300 reactions in your body, including turning your food into energy, normal muscle function, the uptake of oxygen, and the balance of electrolytes.

It’s crucial for bone health – it allows our bones to absorb calcium efficiently, protecting against osteoporosis – and can help maintain the health of our heart muscles too.2,3

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How can magnesium improve sports performance?

Magnesium gives your muscles a boost by helping to replenish their energy stores. A review of published studies by Indiana University in 2017 found that the body’s need for magnesium increases the more you exercise,4 as your body burns up the energy released faster.

The review also found that magnesium could enhance glucose availability in the muscles – delaying the onset of lactic acid, that burning ‘heavy’ feeling in your muscles – and improve muscle performance too.

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Can magnesium soothe aching muscles?

Tired, painful muscles and joints can cause sleep disturbance, but magnesium could aid restful sleep. In 2012, Iranian researchers discovered that elderly patients taking 500mg of magnesium every day for two months experienced better sleep and reduced symptoms of insomnia.5

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Good sources of magnesium

The NHS recommends that women have 270mg of magnesium a day and men 300mg,6 but research has found only 86% of the UK population is getting these amounts.7

You can find magnesium in:
• green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
• nuts and seeds
• brown rice
• bread, especially wholegrain
• oily fish
• yoghurt and other dairy products
• avocado
• quinoa
• and… dark chocolate!

Be careful not to consume too much magnesium as excessive amounts can cause side effects, including an upset stomach.

Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. University of Hertfordshire. Magnesium cream absorbed through skin significantly boosts magnesium levels in the blood, first study on humans finds. Available from:,-first-study-on-humans-finds
2. NHS Choices. Magnesium. Available from:
3. Medical News Today. Why do we need magnesium? Available from:
4. Zhan Y, et al. Review: Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Available from:
5. Abbasi B, et al. The effect of magnesium on primary insomnia in the elderly.
6. As Source 2
7. As Source 1

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