Magnesium for muscle tension plays a crucial part in relaxing and helping muscles to function normally. Not having enough can cause spasms, tightness and tension in your muscles and joints. Our expert guide shows how magnesium supports muscle healing and soothes muscle tension.
Click on a link below to jump to the relevant section:
- Why Take Magnesium for Muscles?
- What Causes Muscle Tension?
- How Does Magnesium Help Muscle Tension?
- How Does Magnesium Help Muscle Healing?
- How Much Magnesium for Muscle Tension?
- Which Type of Magnesium for Muscles is Best?
Why Take Magnesium for Muscles?
Magnesium benefits muscle tension, spasms, and healing. This is because the mineral is necessary to help proper muscle function. Magnesium works with other essential types of minerals to keep muscles loose and flexible.
- Relaxing your muscles during exercise - When you exercise or do some kind of physical activity, magnesium relaxes your muscles and controls their contractions. It helps lessen the build-up of lactic acid, which can cause muscular tension. This then enables your muscles to get the oxygen they need. Magnesium sport performance supplements can help this by relaxing your muscles.
- Supports exercise recovery - When you exercise, your muscles experience little tears and damages. Your body needs vital proteins, carbs, and other nutrients to heal these. Improving recovery after exercise involves getting quality sleep, stretching, and magnesium for muscle healing.
- Energy production - Magnesium plays an important role in your body’s natural energy production so it is important to get enough. Much of your energy comes from adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is a molecule that converts energy from food sources into fuel. This fuel is then used for other bodily processes including muscle function.
- Helps to support growth - Your body produces growth factors with the help of magnesium for muscle spasms. These are proteins that facilitate muscle growth and strength over the long term.
Low levels of magnesium puts you more at risk of suffering muscle:
- Spasms (especially in the legs or feet)
What Causes Muscle Tension?
Due to how much muscle tissue is found throughout the body, tension is extremely common and can occur in nearly every area. Mostly it comes as a result of straining the muscle during physical activity, or injury in strenuous work or exercise.
Inside the body, calcium and magnesium are in competition. They do this by binding with the same proteins within your muscles. A build-up of calcium could cause muscles to over-contract. This can lead to spasms or twitches.
- Neck tension - Usually the result of a strain through exercise, heavy lifting or sitting, standing or sleeping in an awkward position.
- Back tension - Very common, and can occur in joints and bones as well as the muscles and soft tissue. It might come as a mild but constant ache or a sudden, sharp soreness.
If your muscles spasm or twitch after you’ve been exercising or standing for a long period of time, this might be a sign that you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, especially in magnesium.
However, there are also certain conditions and medical reasons that cause muscle tension. These include:
- Flu, or other similar infections
- Thyroid problems
- Being potassium-deficient
How Does Magnesium Help with Muscle Tension?
Magnesium helps with muscle tension because it is a muscle relaxant. This is why it is often recommended to take magnesium for menopause. Magnesium can help to soothe the aches and muscle tension which accompany menopause. Here is how magnesium can help different forms of muscle tension:
Spasms are painful muscle contractions. One of magnesium’s functions within the body is to help prevent them.
Ensuring you take magnesium supplements helps by encouraging the body to absorb calcium. Calcium is another abundant mineral essential for good health. It also prevents muscles and soft tissues from calcifying (hardening due to excess calcium).
Magnesium for muscle tension helps the muscles to relax. This is why some health professionals advise increasing intake to alleviate and avoid these spasms.
Muscle spasms are often considered symptoms of magnesium deficiency. This is where the body lacks the magnesium it needs to stop the contractions. Other muscle spasms are side effects of certain medications or linked to health conditions.
Lots of people suffer with nocturnal leg twitching or muscle spasms when sleeping. Supplementing magnesium for muscle spasms has had positive results. It has worked particularly well in treating pregnant women and the elderly. Supplementing magnesium for muscle spasms could be a good place to start.
A muscle strain occurs when your muscles over-stretch or tear. This kind of injury is quite common, and most frequently happens to:
- Neck muscles
- Back muscles
- The hamstring
Straining a muscle can cause it to tighten and/or spasm, which feels very sore. Supplementing transdermal magnesium for muscle spasms, can help limit any tension by helping the muscle to contract and relax.
How Does Magnesium Help with Muscle Healing?
Muscle soreness is often paired with a new exercise routine, and can be a common injury after workouts. Performance nutritionist Emily Whitehead explains:
“Muscle soreness, commonly known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), can be caused by microscopic damage to your muscle fibres and is usually associated with an unusual or increased load to the muscle. This triggers soreness and stiffness in our muscles from 24 to 48 hours after we’ve exercised”. - Emily Whitehead, MBANT Registered Nutritionist & Personal Trainer.
DOMS is not always avoidable, especially for those of us that don’t exercise regularly. However, thoroughly warming up and cooling down as well as gradually increasing the amount of exercise we do can help to prevent such uncomfortable consequences. In other words, don’t do too much too soon.
Emily also recommends when training for an hour or more you should eat a snack after exercise that includes carbohydrates and protein. This will replenish lost glycogen stores and the protein helps to repair your damaged muscle fibres.
Although nutrition helps to fuel exercise and optimise our recovery, it isn’t always enough to meet the high demands of training. For this reason, Emily recommends supplementation, such as taking magnesium for muscles:
“One of the supplements I recommend is magnesium, applied through the skin. This mineral is lost when we sweat and it plays a vital role in our body’s ability to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which we need for energy. An insufficient amount of cellular magnesium may result in a build-up of lactic acid. Ultimately leaving our bodies susceptible to muscle tiredness and soreness.”
Studies have shown that supplementing magnesium for muscle recovery, through the skin, is an effective way to absorb this mineral.
How Much Magnesium for Muscle Tension?
According to the NHS, the recommended daily requirement of magnesium is:
- 300mg per day for men (aged 19–64 years)
- 270mg per day for women (aged 19–64 years)
Taking large amounts orally can have a laxative effect, but BetterYou’s transdermal application products don’t have the same effect because they are applied topically instead of passing through the digestive system.
Magnesium dosages vary depending on health and lifestyle, so you should always check the packaging first. Ensure you receive the correct dosage to make the magnesium supplement more effective.
Which Type of Magnesium is Best for Muscle Tension?
Your magnesium intake for muscle tension depends on two things:
- Your diet (dietary magnesium)
- Any supplements you take
With pill-free supplements, it’s important to understand that there are several different forms of magnesium for muscles. Each one has a different purpose or effect on your body. Some forms, such as body sprays, are easier for your body to absorb than others, a characteristic known as “bioavailability”.
One of the most common types of magnesium for muscles, magnesium chloride is extracted from natural sources in rock or saltwater. All BetterYou’s magnesium products use a highly pure kind of magnesium chloride taken from the Earth’s crust.
It’s used in both:
- Oral magnesium supplements—those you take by mouth, such as pills and tablets
- Transdermal magnesium supplements—those you absorb through the skin, such as magnesium bath flakes, oils, lotions and creams (also known as topical magnesium).
How Magnesium Chloride Helps Muscle Tension
Magnesium chloride is known to be effective at treating muscle spasms. It:
- Helps relieve muscle tension, tightness and stiffness
- Aids working muscle tissue, allowing for quicker muscle recovery after strenuous exercise
- Enables calcium absorption in bones
Other benefits of magnesium chloride for tension
- One of the most bioavailable - so it is easily absorbed and used by the body
- Encourages restful sleep, and magnesium helps improve sleep quality
- Aids digestion
- Repairs and replenishes skin, as part of your skin supplements
Better known as Epsom salts, magnesium sulphate contains magnesium, sulphur and oxygen. Like magnesium chloride, it can be taken transdermally (through the skin) or orally. Most people take Epsom salts by dissolving them in a hot bath or foot soak. As they have a lower concentration of magnesium than magnesium chloride, they have a lower bioavailability too.
Magnesium sulphate contains analgesic properties that help to soothe sore muscles such as muscle spasms. It also draws toxins out of the pores. It can have a laxative effect when taken in tablet-form, which could relieve constipation.
Magnesium malate is made by combining magnesium with malic acid. This acid is found in fruits such as oranges. Together they make a magnesium salt that has a higher level of bioavailability than other forms such as magnesium oxide and magnesium sulphate.
Magnesium malate relieves muscle tension by relaxing tense areas. It is for this reason it is so effective at helping to ease muscle spasms. It also supports hundreds of enzyme processes inside the body, and helps the cells in your body produce and use energy.
Can Magnesium Relieve Menstrual Spasms?
Having a magnesium deficiency can have a major effect on how your body feels during the menstrual cycle.
A lack of magnesium in your body means your muscles are more prone to contracting and inflammation. This is the cause of the very severe spasms that you might feel as part of your PMS symptoms.
As magnesium acts as a relaxant, it also helps relieve the headaches and mood symptoms that can accompany monthly menstruation. Meaning, magnesium is a nutrient to support a healthy period.
BetterYou is an innovative natural health company specialising in oral spray technology and magnesium absorption. Since founding in 2006, we have worked with a number of leading institutes to help understand the science of absorption. They include the Universities of Sheffield and Cardiff University, as well as St Mark’s Hospital London.