Muscle Talk - By International Protein

Magnesium & Bodybuilding

March 31, 2021 International Protein Season 3 Episode 11
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
Magnesium & Bodybuilding
Chapters
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
Magnesium & Bodybuilding
Mar 31, 2021 Season 3 Episode 11
International Protein

In this episode, we discuss magnesium and its importance in bodybuilding. We explore the different types of magnesium and what role it plays in both muscle, stress, and digestion.

  • Do you really need magnesium?
  • Magnesium for recovery
  • How much do you really need?
  • Foods high in magnesium 


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






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A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we discuss magnesium and its importance in bodybuilding. We explore the different types of magnesium and what role it plays in both muscle, stress, and digestion.

  • Do you really need magnesium?
  • Magnesium for recovery
  • How much do you really need?
  • Foods high in magnesium 


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






------------------------------------------------------
A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Ash Horton:
Welcome to Muscle Talk where you'll get world champion advice about nutrition and stacking on muscle. Our host, Christine Envall, she's a three time world champion bodybuilder and IFBB professional, a food scientist, and a founding co-owner of our podcast sponsor International Protein.

Ash Horton:
In this episode, we discuss magnesium and its importance in bodybuilding. We explore the different types of magnesium and what role it plays both in muscle, stress and digestion.

Ash Horton:
All right, Christine, talk to us about magnesium and bodybuilding.

Christine Envall:
Okay. Magnesium and bodybuilding is, I guess, it's something that is relatively well-known. A lot of people now talk about taking their magnesium supplements, but it's not really in that top 10 of, "Oh, okay. I'm going to go have my protein. I'm going to have my pre-workout. I'm going to have my magnesium." It's actually something that crept into sport supplements more through endurance athletes where it's the third electrolyte. So people talk about sodium and potassium and then magnesium. We started to see obviously people who do triathlons and in the type of products that they would be using. With bodybuilding, it's something that you, if you're not aware of it, you're going to probably injure yourself and then go, "Oh, damn. I need to take magnesium."

Christine Envall:
So back in the day, the people that I know who had problems were the people who kept getting little micro-tears, kept getting little rips and injuries and they couldn't figure out why this was happening. They were felt like they were in an off-season, so there shouldn't be an issue. They would go to go heavy and just, not rip the whole muscle, but just kind of get these little tears in their muscle and it turned out they were diagnosed with having a magnesium deficiency.

Christine Envall:
So magnesium plays a role in how the muscle contracts and relaxes. Well, actually magnesium plays a role in over 300 different processes within the body, but how it relates specifically to bodybuilding is a lot more to do with how the muscle contracts and relaxes. So I've got piles and piles of notes here because I want to cover off and make sure that I'm not missing too much.

Christine Envall:
So some of the things that it plays a really critical role with are controlling stress hormones. So, stress hormones are related to weight gain and weight loss. So obviously in bodybuilding, you want to make sure that you're able to cut up properly for a competition, so therefore you want to have that side of it under control. And I read every a hundred milligrams of magnesium that you have, I guess, over what the RDI is and I guess there's obviously a top limit as well, but it's actually associated with a reduced risk of getting diabetes. Now, that's not really bodybuilding related, but it just kind of talks about that stress hormone and one of the major things that it plays. It also has a lot to do with serotonin production, mood lifting, relaxation of the nervous system, reducing of blood pressure and the proper relaxation of the digestive tract.

Christine Envall:
So that's another thing where with bodybuilding, eating the amount of food that people need to eat, they need to have the digestive tract working properly. And that's where, again, magnesium plays a role. So it has a lot of, I guess, not direct, it's not going to make you lift heavier, it's not going to make you be stronger. It's not something like a creatine or it's not something that's going to give you more energy like a caffeine.

Ash Horton:
[crosstalk 00:03:20] better effect for recovery though?

Christine Envall:
It's better for recovery because of the way that it allows the muscle to, I guess, come down after you worked it. When you're working a muscle, you're forcing it to really contract hard and potentially you've got that cramping and not firing properly. So if you don't have proper magnesium, that's not going to happen properly so that relaxation and be able to prepare and repair. So it's not involved directly in the actual growth of the muscle tissue, but it's involved in the correct functioning of the muscle tissue. So it's definitely going to help with that side of things.

Ash Horton:
And of course, if you're relax... I can't speak today for some reason. I'm messing up my words. But if you're relaxed and those sorts of things, it can help with sleep, which obviously-

Christine Envall:
Correct.

Ash Horton:
... helps again.

Christine Envall:
Yep. Well, magnesium's probably really well-known for that and again, this is something that probably my mom's more on top of it than what I am, but you know, apparently every old person takes magnesium.

Ash Horton:
Do they?

Christine Envall:
Yeah. Yeah. Because it helps them sleep. It's gets them into a more relaxed state for sleep.

Ash Horton:
I take it every night.

Christine Envall:
Take it every night? Well, you know what? It's actually better to take it in divided doses throughout the day. Yeah, magnesium's one of those things where, I'm not sure if everyone's aware of this, but it's also really common in laxatives. So if people have heard of milk of magnesia, which is a particular type of magnesium, and that's the one in Epsom salts or milk of magnesia is the ones where you take it and it basically gives you diarrhea to clear any blockages, but that's basically because it's acting on the muscle, because your bowel is obviously a muscle and it's causing it to relax. So that's I guess, an extreme case and that's obviously where if you're taking too much of it, you can have that problem.

Christine Envall:
And when I say too much, we're talking like five grams a day. Just to put that in context, magnesium the RDI is set at the moment around like 300 milligrams, three to three thirty, depending on whether what age you are and what sex you are. But the research that's coming out is that you really need to have more about 450 or 500 milligrams for optimal performance. It's one of those things where taking more isn't going to give you, say, a boost in your performance, but having less is certainly going to have a negative impact on your performance. So when it comes to bodybuilding, you don't need to dose up, load up, have three grams a day, like what you do with your creatine. You just need to make sure that you're getting at least four or 500 milligrams, but in some studies I've seen, they're putting people on around about eight milligrams per kilo.

Christine Envall:
So this is again where RDIs, I just hate them so much because a 50 kilo person, a hundred kilo person, 120, 130 kilo bodybuilder, eight times a hundred kilos is already 800 milligrams, as opposed to the RDI of less than 400. It's just not cutting the mustard. So essentially for a bodybuilder, they really should work off of body weight because obviously the more muscle mass that you have, the more that you need to have the magnesium [inaudible 00:06:13] because of where it's actually functioning.

Christine Envall:
I've just got a few little facts that I want to read out about magnesium here. So it's the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. So obviously magnesium's a mineral, in case people didn't get that. And also an electrolyte form of mineral. And it's the second most abundant mineral in cells behind potassium. So when it comes to your muscle cell, potassium likes to live inside of the cell. I shouldn't say live, it's not alive, but likes to be. And sodium sits on the outside and then magnesium also sits on the inside of the muscle cells. So having the correct balance and the correct amount is obviously paramount to how that muscle actually works.

Christine Envall:
Along with that, there is about 60 grams found at within the entire body. That's what your body pool of magnesium is. But a quarter of it is actually found in the muscle tissue and about 60% is found in bones. So that's, again, I guess, putting into context of where it is and how it's important and to have a quarter of it being inside of the muscle and again, the more muscle you have, I would say that that proportion is going to change. So remember that a lot of the time the research that you see isn't done on hypermuscular bodybuilders, it is done on a general selection of the population. So that's just some background around magnesium.

Christine Envall:
As I said, it does play a role in more than 300 different enzymatic reactions, including the synthesis of fat protein nucleic acid, which is basically our DNA neurological activity, muscular contraction and relaxation, cardiac activity, and bone metabolism. So pretty much every aspect of our biology and as a bodybuilder obviously the muscle part of that is one of the key things, but also I guess the neurological side of it is very, very critical to a bodybuilder, but-

Ash Horton:
So how have you used magnesium in your career?

Christine Envall:
Okay, I have supplemented with magnesium. As I was looking through this, I found out that I'm supposed to be really dividing my doses, but I was actually taking my magnesium generally after a workout and my theory around that is that obviously my muscles being kind of worked and stressed and put into that situation where it's hyperexcited and I need it to relax. It doesn't make me sleep because I actually have it after my cardio workout now, but I've actually just started having it twice a day to split that dosage up, to make sure that I'm getting at least that 400 milligrams as a supplement.

Christine Envall:
I will talk about the food side of it as well. You know, I've used that for probably gosh, a long time. Pretty much since my friend got diagnosed with being magnesium deficient and getting all these muscle tears, it was kind of when it sunk home to me that it was really, really important because when we were going through that kind of training, you'd look for every single thing which is going to protect you and stop you from getting some kind of an injury.

Christine Envall:
So when I saw people around me coming down with those types of little injuries, they weren't bad enough to really upset your training, but they were bad enough to kind of just put you back a little bit. They didn't put you out, but they put you back and also give you that little bit of a fear of really pushing to your utmost. So that's yeah, so I've been supplementing it.

Christine Envall:
I actually use a product... We don't do it in IP, in International Protein, because it's not a food, literally is a supplement, which comes under TGA in Australia. But I use the Kubo Health product, which has a blend of different magnesiums, which are quite soluble. It also has some taurine and zinc, which they believe the taurine with that particular formulation, I'm not 100% certain if it's going to help with what I want it to do, because taurine has got so many different properties around, also like your neurological function.

Christine Envall:
So I guess they're kind of putting it together as working on the neurological side of it as well as the magnesium side. So I'm figuring that's why they put it in there. There could be multiple different things that you could put in together with it, including calcium because you want to have a certain balance of calcium and magnesium. You don't want to have too much calcium, but if you don't have some calcium with your magnesium, you're not going to get the best benefit out of it. But we eat so much whey protein that we're already getting a lot of calcium so you kind of don't want to go too far because you're going to bind up and block the magnesium from being absorbed.

Christine Envall:
So like everything in the body, there's kind of a balance. So you've got to be careful that you're not overdoing it and I think I read that something like 500 milligrams of calcium for your 300 milligrams of magnesium is kind of a good ratio. So don't go crazy again and hyperdose your calcium because you're going to basically block your magnesium from being absorbed. So that's how I've taken it over the years. And just one of the other things obviously with magnesium is it's very important for the resynthesis of ATP. Obviously when we're training, we're using ATP and to replenish that, magnesium is involved in that particular process. So it's probably even more critical in cardio based things, high repetition type activities as well, but obviously in weight training you're using ATP. So whilst there's no studies saying that it actually increases endurance how creatine does or anything like that, it does have a role in that particular area so that's part of that.

Christine Envall:
Now, deficiencies. It's actually a pretty bad thing when you look at all the things that magnesium can affect, that is things like your carbohydrate metabolism and your insulin and the risk of diabetes, which I alluded to at the start, when I said how the research is showing that just that hundred milligrams of extra magnesium had a protective effect around people getting insulin resistance and type two diabetes. So it has a lot to do with obviously, yeah, the cardio function, carbohydrate metabolism, and deficiency in magnesium has been related to people struggling to lose weight. And again, that's because we talked about the cortisol, we're talking about carbohydrate metabolism. So magnesium is just so complex and so involved with so many different processes within the body, that it's hard to kind of just pin down that one thing. So as I said, it's to do with-

Ash Horton:
So for you, is it a must take supplement?

Christine Envall:
Yes.

Ash Horton:
A hundred percent.

Christine Envall:
A hundred percent. As I said, I've taken it for probably going on close to 20 years now.

Ash Horton:
And you take a blend of magnesiums. Any specifically that are really important?

Christine Envall:
Well, that's what I was just saying. Ones which are soluble. So there are forms like an oxide, which is basically if you think of calcium carbonate and how everyone kind of sees that as being chalk and very hard to absorb, so that magnesium oxide is like the magnesium version of that. So it's not very soluble, not really ideally what you want to take. So a lot of the ones which are bound, like magnesium citrates really common, lactate, all the ones which are bound commonly with an acid, are a lot more absorbable. But then the issue is that if you're taking a lot of it, you can tend to have that laxative effect with those.

Christine Envall:
So there is one which you tell me you get, Ash, which is the threonate form which isn't commonly available in Australia, you would have to get that from an overseas website. That one, according to some people who are, I guess, heavily into sports nutrition, that is like the be all and end all of magnesiums. That one also plays a role with brain depression, making you have a better mood. So it's-

Ash Horton:
Which is important when I'm working with you, right?

Christine Envall:
Ash, I am a ray of sunshine. You shouldn't even need that type of a supplement working with me. But if you must have that, then yeah, that's the one to have that they say. I haven't personally tried it myself, but that just segues into another thing, which magnesium is being shown to have a link to people with depression and those kind of issues around, I guess, the brain chemical imbalance that magnesium deficiency is showing up kind of commonly. There's still a lot of research to be done, but as I said at the start too, it has a lot to do with mood and neurological transmission so that particular type is used or is being used and starting to be studied in that role.

Christine Envall:
I'll just see if I have the actual thing. I can't find where I wrote it, but yeah, it's definitely to do with lifting up your mood and getting away from depression. So I don't know, Ash, have you found if it's helped or is it just my presence that-

Ash Horton:
No, I need every little bit of help possible and that's got nothing to do with you. It's all me.

Christine Envall:
So, yeah-

Ash Horton:
So I take that one. I also take the muscle relaxant. I can't remember the exact name of the magnesium, but I did some research on it a wee while ago and also the one for the nervous system. So I take a little cocktail, but I have the threonate during the day, as opposed to the more relaxing ones in the evenings.

Christine Envall:
Yeah. And that's the thing. As I said, it's sold actually as a sleep formulation or is the basis of a lot of sleep formulations that are sold potentially with some herbals to get you to relax. The reason I use the one that I use, because back in the day, when supplements weren't, I guess, as prolific as what they are now, it was probably one of the best purest, less fillers the Kubo brand had. It was quite potent and it's also available in a powder because I hate taking so many capsules and you have to take a substantial amount of powder because obviously all of these things are not obviously pure magnesium. So, to get 400 milligrams, you end up taking like a five gram dosage. Granted, a gram of that is taurine, but it's not a small amount. So imagine if you're taking that as a capsule, that's a hell of a lot of capsules to take. So that was one of the few brands that had a powder back in the day. And obviously I'm brand loyal and stuck with it all of these years, but I'll definitely check out the threonate.

Christine Envall:
There's also things like your orotate is going to help a lot with the cardio, preferentially the cardio functioning, but majority of them are the main thing is that you're looking for something which is relatively soluble, which is your lactates, citrates, amino acids, chelates. Read the label. If it says oxide, probably stay away from it. If it says threonate, try it out. Apparently it is more expensive. Is it?

Ash Horton:
Yeah, but I mean-

Christine Envall:
Yeah, worth the money. And then as they say, everything else is pretty much a much of a muchness in terms of getting that but let's talk about food and a little bit of the history or where you find it, because ideally it'd be nice to actually be able to eat this out of our diets rather than having to take a supplement because that's probably the way that nature intended and it's probably the better way to take it.

Christine Envall:
So some of the things that are coming out around this are what people are getting out of their diets has dropped significantly over the last 20 or 50 years because the quality of the land or the soil that the plants are being grown in, isn't as good as what it was. And obviously much like us, we get our nutrients from what we ingest. Plants obviously get their nutrients from what their roots are in, which is basically how they gather their nutrients.

Christine Envall:
So with soil quality declining, the levels in the natural food chain are dropping so people eating the same foods are not getting as much but then on the flip side of that, you think about from the '50s, how much processed foods coming to the food chain and having whole grains and those type of products, which actually carry magnesium in that part of the grain, that's all getting stripped away because people want to eat nice white bread and they don't want rough bits and pieces. They want smooth and they want just generally products which are kind of devoid of a lot of the nutrition. Cakes and pastries, pizza dough, burger buns, all that type of stuff. It's all going to be missing all of that.

Christine Envall:
So some of the top sources of magnesium, or the top source, is pumpkin seeds. So funnily enough, I started including those in my diet as part of my good mood foods. Ash, I need to put you on to that actually. I don't need any special forms of magnesium, I just need the-

Ash Horton:
The good mood food.

Christine Envall:
Yeah, the top nine good mood foods. But pumpkin seeds and that actually for the magnesium was one of the foods that came up and it has about 90 milligrams per hundred grams so I know the problem with that is that how many pumpkin seeds are you going to eat? So whilst it's a good source and a very concentrated source, the amount of that food that you're going to eat is probably not that significant. The good news is though that nuts are also a really great source. So again, people who are eating more whole food diets and incorporating nuts as a good fat source, they also are carrying a fairly high amount of magnesium. So things like almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts are all pretty good. Sesame seeds, really good. Whole grain, brown rice, wholemeal bread. So again, it's all your whole grains, which haven't had all of the bran stripped away and all their goodness stripped away. They're a good source of magnesium.

Christine Envall:
And then moving down, things like broccoli and kale, beans, are also really good sources. So I guess people following more whole food and vegan type diets are probably getting a good amount of it, but it's easy to see why there such a deficiency has crept into basically any walk of life because again, bodybuilders do tend to eat a lot of white rice, oats. Isn't on this list of being a top source of magnesium, I'm sure there is some in there, but it's not ranking really super, super high. So therefore, really good chance that if you're training hard and you're a bigger person and you have a greater demand for it that you will need to supplement.

Christine Envall:
As I said, unless you're taking up around 5,000 milligrams a day where you might experience some issues, you're not going to be at a detriment for giving yourself that four, 500 milligrams a day from a supplement form. But as I said better to take that in broken up dosages at least morning and night after training, before you go to bed. As you said, you've taken it with other ingredients before you sleep. And obviously for bodybuilding, sleep is so important. So it has a role in all of those different areas.

Christine Envall:
What else did I want to say about it? Yeah, again, just on the nutrition side of it, people who consume a lot of sugar and sugary products, it actually strips it out of your body. If you drink alcohol regularly, same deal. If you're eating a low calorie or calorie restricted and high protein, low carbohydrate diet, also at risk of major magnesium deficiencies. So there's some things which are common practices within the nutrition industry or the fitness industry of super high protein, avoiding carbs at all costs. There's not a lot of room for that magnesium to come in. So those people should be also looking at supplementing with-

Ash Horton:
So does that mean anybody on the keto diet, for example, should be-

Christine Envall:
Should be looking-

Ash Horton:
... definitely onto magnesium?

Christine Envall:
Yeah, I mean if they're using a lot of seeds and nuts, even though those for keto aren't really that cool because they have the carbs in with them so it depends how severe they are on that type of diet. If they're full on, really super low carb keto then definitely. But if they're on a diet where they're able to get their fats from things like nuts and seeds, then they're probably actually doing pretty okay. So it depends on, I guess, what type of one they're following there. So, I used to think glutamine was my absolute must have, but then I realized that, yeah, I have been taking magnesium for all that period of time. And I haven't had a lot of issue with cramping. I don't get little micro-tears. If I'm going to tear something I'm going to tear it properly. It's obviously working really, really well there.

Ash Horton:
I wouldn't live without it, just wouldn't.

Christine Envall:
Yeah. But as I said, it's not one of those things that people, I guess really talk about. Well, they do when they're older, because as I said, my mom's kind of on all about... They're all about their magnesium, but I think I've covered off most of what I wanted to about magnesium.

Christine Envall:
The main thing is, as I said, they don't think that taking extra is going to give you an extra benefit as much as you're really going to notice it more if you're in a deficiency. And that's, I guess, the true way that most vitamins and minerals work or originally worked. It's not so much, and it's obviously still debated on, whether or not having a hyperdose or having a higher dose will actually have a benefit as much as without it. You have some definite things which are going to be a problem, definite performance issues or health issues by having not enough of it.

Ash Horton:
I really love how detailed you get on this, on these subjects that I throw at you, so thank you very much. I'm sure that it was very valuable for everybody.

Ash Horton:
Words of wisdom. If you like what you've heard, leave us a review and recognize that these bodybuilding tips from International Protein are free, so show your support by becoming a loyal International Protein customer, the best supplements money can buy. So jump online, hunt down our product and hit that buy now button.