Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance?

Nutrients. 2017 Aug 28;9(9):946. doi: 10.3390/nu9090946.


Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in the human body. It takes part in the process of energy metabolism and assists the maintenance of normal muscle function. A number of studies evaluated the association between Mg status/supplementation and exercise performance and found that the need for Mg increased as individuals' physical activity level went up. Animal studies indicated that Mg might improve exercise performance via enhancing glucose availability in the brain, muscle and blood; and reducing/delaying lactate accumulation in the muscle. The majority of human studies focused on physiological effects in blood pressure, heart rate and maximal oxygen uptake (VO₂ max), rather than direct functional performances. Some cross-sectional surveys demonstrated a positive association between Mg status and muscle performance, including grip strength, lower-leg power, knee extension torque, ankle extension strength, maximal isometric trunk flexion, rotation, and jumping performance. Additionally, findings from intervention studies showed that Mg supplementation might lead to improvements in functional indices such as quadriceps torque. Moreover, Mg supplementation could improve gait speed and chair stand time in elderly women. This comprehensive review summarized the literature from both animal and human studies and aimed to evaluate scientific evidence on Mg status/supplementation in relation to exercise performance.

Keywords: diet; exercise performance; magnesium; supplement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Exercise*
  • Healthy Aging
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / administration & dosage
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Sports Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*


  • Performance-Enhancing Substances
  • Magnesium