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Magnesium Improves Both Physical AND Mental Performance



Magnesium is one of the most popular and supplemented substances among people interested in health. As it happens, there’s a good reason for this – 80% of general population are deficient in it and only 40% meet the RDA requirements for it in their diets. Magnesium is needed for maintainance of normal nerve and muscle function, heart rhythm (cardiac excitability), vasomotor tone, blood pressure, immune system, bone integrity, and blood glucose levels. It’s deficiency is associated with chronic inflammatory and stress states. On top of all that (and the aspect I was most interested in) magnesium seems to offer some valuable benefits in terms of performance enhancement. Since magnesium is so important for ATP synthesis one might theorize that supplemental magnesium could improve both physical and mental performance (since ATP provides energy to both, the brain and the body). It seems that this is the case:

1) Magnesium enhances physical performance:

Magnesium status and the physical performance of volleyball players: effects of magnesium supplementation. - PubMed - NCBI - increased performance in volleyball players:
Significant decreases in lactate production and significant increases (of up to 3 cm) in countermovement jump and countermovement jump with arm swing values were detected in the experimental group following magnesium supplementation, but not in the control group at T1. It is concluded that magnesium supplementation improved alactic anaerobic metabolism, even though the players were not magnesium-deficient.’

In volleyball, efficient performance in vertical jumping is considered one of the key attributes required of elite players since this activity is involved in most offensive and defensive movements. The vertical jump demands considerable aerobic power and muscular endurance and is characterised by eccentric and concentric muscular action.

On the significance of magnesium in extreme physical stress. - PubMed - NCBI - improves swimming, cycling, running times:
Swimming, cycling, and running times decreased in the Mg-orotate group compared with the controls.’

Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on physical performance in healthy elderly women involved in a weekly exercise program: a randomized contr... - PubMed - NCBI - The study used a dose of 300mg/day magnesium oxide, so one could assume that the effect would’ve been even more pronounced if a better absorbed form was used:
‘After 12 wk, the treated group had a significantly better total SPPB score (Δ = 0.41 ± 0.24 points; P = 0.03), chair stand times (Δ = −1.31 ± 0.33 s; P < 0.0001), and 4-m walking speeds (Δ = 0.14 ± 0.03 m/s; P = 0.006) than did the control group. These findings were more evident in participants with a magnesium dietary intake lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

SPPB score - Short Physical Performance Battery, consists of 3 objective physical function tests: 4-m gait speed, repeated chair stands, and standing balance in increasingly challenging positions.

The effect of acute vs chronic magnesium supplementation on exercise and recovery on resistance exercise, blood pressure and total peripheral resistance on normotensive adults - used magnesium citrate:
‘The study was a randomised, double-blind, cross-over design, placebo controlled 2 day repeat measure protocol (n = 13). Intense exercise (40 km time trial) was followed by bench press at 80% 1RM to exhaustion...

300 mg/d elemental magnesium was supplemented for either a 1 (A) or 4 (Chr) week loading strategy...’

‘There was no cumulative effect of Chr supplementation compared to A. A group showed improvement for bench press concurring with previous research which was not seen in Chr.’

Magnesium and muscle performance in older persons: the InCHIANTI study:
Handgrip strength, knee extension torque, and ankle extension were significantly higher with higher serum magnesium. Lower-extremity muscle power tended to be higher with higher serum magnesium; however, the relation was not significant.’

Vitamin and mineral status: effects on physical performance. - PubMed - NCBI:
Magnesium deficiency impairs physical performance. Clear evidence was provided when muscle spasms in a tennis player were associated with decreased serum magnesium concentration (serum magnesium, 0.65 mM/L; normal range, 0.8–1.2 mM/L). Treatment with 500 mg/d of magnesium gluconate relieved the muscle spasms within a few days.’

Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. - PubMed - NCBI - a 2x increase in strength in magnesium supplemented subjects compared to the increase in controls:
‘Since the training program stimulus was similar for both groups, any differences in T can be attributed to Mg intake, which was about double in M as compared to C.’

Maximal oxygen consumption as related to magnesium, copper, and zinc nutriture. - PubMed - NCBI - improves oxygen consumption (means that the fitness of athletes in the study increased):
‘We hypothesize that ionic magnesium may facilitate oxygen delivery to working muscle tissue in trained subjects.’

Maximal oxygen consumption is an objective index of physical fitness among trained athletes and untrained subjects.

2) Magnesium enhances cognitive function:

Enhancement of synaptic plasticity through chronically reduced Ca2+ flux during uncorrelated activity. - PubMed - NCBI - magnesium enhances brain synaptic plasticity. From the full-text study:
We chose magnesium, the endogenous voltage-dependent pore blocker of NMDARs, to alter the pattern of Ca2+ flux. We found that with an increase of [Mg2+]o within the physiological range (0.8–1.2 mM), the plasticity of synapses was enhanced permanently...’

Plasticity is the ability of the brain to change and adapt to new information. Synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory.

Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. - PubMed - NCBI - increases LTP, working memory, learning ability:
‘...we show that increasing brain magnesium using a newly developed magnesium compound (magnesium-L-threonate, MgT) leads to the enhancement of learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats.

‘Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions.’

LTP - Long-term potentiation of synaptic strength, correlated with behaviorally relevant memory function: reductions in LTP cause memory impairments, whereas increases in LTP are associated with enhancement of learning and memory.

Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lat... - PubMed - NCBI - Upregulates BDNF expression in prefrontal cortex, increases synaptic plasticity:
‘...elevation of brain magnesium increased NMDA receptors (NMDARs) signaling, BDNF expression, density of presynaptic puncta, and synaptic plasticity in the PFC but, interestingly, not in the basolateral amygdala...’

BDNF - Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, helps support the survival of existing neurons, and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.

Magnesium supplement enhances spatial-context pattern separation and prevents fear overgeneralization. - PubMed - NCBI - Increases pattern separation. Pattern separation decreases during normal aging and is impaired in individuals with mild-cognitive impairment:
‘The pattern separation ability of MgT-treated rats was assessed using a spatial-context-discrimination task. MgT treatment did not enhance the retention of contextual-fear memory. Interestingly, the ability to discriminate between two, more or less distinct, contexts was enhanced in MgT-treated rats. Our results suggest that elevation of brain magnesium might be helpful in enhancing spatial-context discrimination and/or pattern separation besides preventing aversive-event-induced overgeneralization of fear.’

Interestingly, BDNF increase/upregulation is associated with increased pattern seperation, which is probably the mechanism there.

Forms: You would want to STAY AWAY from poorly absorbed forms like OXIDE and CHLORIDE. The best types of magnesium are L-THREONATE, MALATE, CITRATE and GLYCINATE as they are absorbed effectively in the human body and are bioavailable. I've seen Ray recommend CARBONATE in the past, so that could also be an option.

Dosage: Studies have used a dosage in the range of 300-600 mg/day which seems like a good starting point. I would probably go with 500mg/day in divided doses (to avoid diarrhea).

Recommended products:

Amazon.com: Life Extension Neuro-Mag Magnesium L-Threonate 90 Vegetarian Capsules: Health & Personal Care - L-THREONATE, have heard anecdotal reports of people saying that this form gives more of a ‘kick’ mentally, though it is quite hyped up by the vendors so might be just placebo. Slightly more expensive than the other forms.

Amazon.com: NOW Foods Magnesium Malate, 180 Tablets / 1000mg: Health & Personal Care - MALATE

Amazon.com: Thorne Research - Magnesium Citrate Health Supplement - 90 Capsules: Health & Personal Care - CITRATE

Amazon.com: Pure Encapsulations - Magnesium (Glycinate) - Supports Enzymatic and Physiological Functions* - 180 Capsules: Health & Personal Care - GLYCINATE - what I use/have used, personally.

Amazon.com : Epsoak Epsom Salt 19.75 Lbs - 100% Pure Magnesium Sulfate, Made in USA : Bath Minerals And Salts : Beauty - SULFATE, epsom salt. By far the best way to supplement (if you have the time to take a bath).

Further reading on magnesium:

The Magnesium Miracle (Revised and Updated Edition): Carolyn Dean: 9780345494580: Amazon.com: Books - most reviewed and probably the most complete book on magnesium’s benefits.

http://amzn.to/2jRYWwx - focuses on magnesium in the context of heart health.

http://amzn.to/2jt2tEA - everything about magnesium and transdermal/topical application.
Last edited by a moderator:


Feb 4, 2014


lol, it took a multiple days of my free time to find these studies, read them and put this post together... And I'm not asking anyone to buy anything.


Feb 4, 2014
I know man i'm just messin with ya :)


Sep 30, 2016
Not a word about Alzheimer's in the presentation so far :), and here comes the cat with it...no really im gonna mask it inside a general question about magnesium types.
Im only interested in magnesium that can reduce tau phosphorylation also, in various study's on
Magnesium L-Threonate we only hear about amyloid-beta reduction or have anyone heard anything about tau?.

This is also confusing to me, cause the heading of this study
Magnesium Protects Cognitive Functions and Synaptic Plasticity in Streptozotocin-Induced Sporadic Alzheimer’s Model - Semantic Scholar
could possibly suggest the findings apply to all magnesium, but inside the text it only specify something called "Magnesium sulfate" as a reducer of phosphorylated tau.
Another name on MG sulfate seem to be "Epsom salt", but how the hell do i get that inside the body if i dont want to bath!, and don't prefer to drink anything bitter in bath.

So does anyone know if there's any normal Magnesium supplements containing this "sulfate"?
Does Magnesium L-Threonate contains this sulfate? ( i want it to be true at least! cause i have a big bottle of Magtein here!)
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Mar 1, 2017
Great work thanks! I'll have to fit more magnesium on my diet.
I started using 500-1000 mg of chelated elemental magnesium a while ago and it's increased my well-being and lessened general anxiety noticeably. It's nice to take some with taurine before bed and read a book or watch TV until you fall asleep. That combination seems to give a calm and relaxed attentiveness, like a subtle stone.

Not expensive stuff either, under 10 dollars for 200 mg / 120 tabs
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