Objective: The potential influence of magnesium on exercise performance is a subject of increasing interest. Magnesium has been shown to have bronchodilatatory properties in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of acute magnesium IV loading on the aerobic exercise performance of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.
Methods: Twenty male chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients (66.2 + 8.3 years old, FEV1: 49.3+19.8%) received an IV infusion of 2 g of either magnesium sulfate or saline on two randomly assigned occasions approximately two days apart. Spirometry was performed both before and 45 minutes after the infusions. A symptom-limited incremental maximal cardiopulmonary test was performed on a cycle ergometer at approximately 100 minutes after the end of the infusion.
Results: Magnesium infusion was associated with significant reductions in the functional residual capacity (-0.41 l) and residual volume (-0.47 l), the mean arterial blood pressure (-5.6 mmHg) and the cardiac double product (734.8 mmHg.bpm) at rest. Magnesium treatment led to significant increases in the maximal load reached (+8 w) and the respiratory exchange ratio (0.06) at peak exercise. The subgroup of patients who showed increases in the work load equal to or greater than 5 w also exhibited significantly greater improvements in inspiratory capacity (0.29 l).
Conclusions: The acute IV loading of magnesium promotes a reduction in static lung hyperinflation and improves the exercise performance in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. Improvements in respiratory mechanics appear to be responsible for the latter finding.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00500864.