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Magnesium Supplements No.1 For Strength & Muscle Growth!

Mark McManus - MuscleHack.comWant a better performance in the gym?
Want to feel stronger and help accelerate muscle growth?

You need to supplement with magnesium! If you don’t already, you’ll want to in about 5 minutes, read on.

Magnesium isn’t very ‘sexy‘ and therefore doesn’t get a lot of attention. Of course you shouldn’t be judging any supplement by its marketing budget. Big companies would rather sell you:

Super-Duper-Anabolic-Extreme-Overnight-Muscle-Blaster!!!it only costs $200! Buy Now!

But magnesium is cheap and readily available so there’s not a huge profit to be made from it. Here’s the thing though; it works and you should take advantage!

Why Magnesium is Important for Bodybuilders

magnesiumA magnesium deficiency has been linked with hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia, and heart attacks. But apart from those health benefits, what’s the relevance for the bodybuilder?

Magnesium ranks top of the minerals when it comes to bodybuilding.

(1) Increased Torque. Brilla and Haley from Western Washington University in Bellingham published the results of a 7-week, double-blind study in which magnesium supplemented lifters exerted greater quadriceps force than unsupplemented lifters.

(2) ATP Production. Without Magnesium the body cannot produce adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. ATP is critically important in bodybuilding.

(3) Increased Anabolic Hormones. You know from reading my article on carb cycling for muscle growth that levels of Testosterone, Growth Hormone and IGF-1 can be increased in the body with targeted nutrition. Magnesium also has a role to play. Research has shown that magnesium is pivotal in Lipid (fat) metabolism and therefore the production of testosterone. Studies also show increased growth hormone and IGF-1 levels with optimal magnesium intake.

(4) Necessary for Protein Synthesis. Research has shown a positive correlation between magnesium levels and lean tissue growth rates (protein synthesis).

How Much Magnesium Should I Take Per Day?

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women (combined food and supplementation). There is such a thing as too much magnesium so let 500mg per day be your maximum.

Where Do I Get Food High in Magnesium?

To generalize, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are high in magnesium. Also, whole, unrefined grains are also good sources of magnesium (refined grains are generally low in magnesium). The following table is from the USDA; foods over 100 milligrams per measure are marked in red.

From the
USDA Nutrient Database


91 85 3 oz.


54 85 3 oz. Yellowfin, fresh, cooked


101 168 1 cup


34 118 1 med.

Figs, dried

44 76 4 figs (doubled – more reasonable)

Barley, pearled, raw

158 200 1 cup

Buckwheat flour

301 120 1 cup Whole-groat

Oat Bran, raw

221 94 1 cup

Rice, brown

84 195 1 cup

Wheat Flour, whole

166 120 1 cup

Prune juice

36 256 1 cup

Milk, canned, condensed

80 306 1 cup Sweetened

Yogurt, low fat

39 227 8 oz. 12 grams of protein/ ounce


156 56 2 oz. (doubled – more reasonable)

Brazil nuts

128 56 2 oz. (doubled – more reasonable)


148 56 2 oz. (doubled – more reasonable)

Pine nuts

132 56 2 oz. (doubled – more reasonable)


101 168 1 cup

Beans, baked

81 254 1 cup

Beans, Black

120 172 1 cup

Beans, Kidney, canned

72 256 1 cup

Beans, Lima

81 188 1 cup

Beans, navy

107 182 1 cup

Beans, Pinto

94 171 1 cup

Beans, refried

83 252 1 cup

Beans, white

134 262 1 cup

Beet Greens

98 144 1 cup

Broccoli, frozen

37 184 1 cup

Chick Peas

79 164 1 cup Garbonzos


155 138 1 cup


86 165 1 cup Black-eyed peas


71 198 1 cup

Okra, cooked

94 184 1 cup


45 156 1 cup

Peas, frozen

46 160 1 cup

Pumpkin, canned

56 245 1 cup

Pumpkin Seeds

151 28 1 oz.


108 180 1 cup

Spinach, canned

163 214 1 cup

Spinach, cooked

157 180 1 cup

Squash, Summer

43 180 1 cup

Sweet Potatos, canned

56 255 1 cup with the skin


57 202 1 potato most is in the skin

Tomatoes, paste

134 262 1 cup
Over 100 mg. in BOLD RED

Magnesium Supplements

Supplementing with magnesium comes highly recommended. You can probably pick it up at your nearest health store but can also get it online from various sources. Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 mg – 240 Tablets) makes getting enough daily magnesium a breeze. I supplement twice a day with 200mg caps.

Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium, 120 Tablets

Stay Strong!

Mark McManus

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Mark McManus
Mark McManus
Mark is now available for 1-on-1 consultations to help you take your results to the next level. Click here for more details.
Mark McManus is a trainer & author from Ireland. His work has been featured in major publications all over the world. He is the creator of the free growth-promoting workout Targeted Hypertrophy Training' (THT) and author of the NEW fat-torching system Total Six Pack Abs.
He has also created the BREAKTHROUGH arm and chest maximizer programs The Arms Blast' and 'Chest Blast' workouts.
And if you're a fan of delicious high-protein recipes to fuel your muscle growth, check out his cook book 'Buff Baking' here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Muata March 27, 2008, 7:41 pm


    What’s going on bro? Hey, your guns are looking good my friend! Have you tried taking ZMA supplements, which contain magnesium?

  • Jexxer March 27, 2008, 7:43 pm

    1 Scoop of BSN’s NO-Xplode supplement has 90% of the daily value of Magnesium in it. I find that it works quite well. The absorption varies with intake. It’s better to take Magnesium with a meal . The side effects for taking too much Magnesium are Diarrhea, nausea, cramps, dehydration. Avoid consuming alcohol or diuretics when taking magnesium.

  • Mark McManus March 27, 2008, 7:46 pm

    Hey Muata,
    I’m good man. Thanks for that. No I haven’t tried ZMA, I’m just taking a regular magnesium supplement with food.

  • Mark McManus March 27, 2008, 7:47 pm

    Hi Jexxer,
    Thanks for the list of side-effects of too much magnesium.

  • Mace March 27, 2008, 10:50 pm

    Hi guys, Mace here new to musclehack just thought I would comment , Ive been on zma for about 45 days it really works Ive noticed my recovery time is shorter too, this proprietry blend in zma boosts the libido as well, haven’t had any side effects as yet. cheers.

  • Mark McManus March 27, 2008, 10:58 pm

    Hi Mace and welcome.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s 2 recommendations for ZMA.

  • Andrics March 28, 2008, 8:23 am

    Hi Mark ,
    this is where the forums will come in handy in your future site. Was looking at HB magnesium at a sale price of around £1.50 !!! but concerned about their quality. The big difference in HB and Doctors best is the lack of high absorption additive in the HB.
    what do you think?

  • Mark McManus March 28, 2008, 11:38 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Go for it. I think H&B are fine. Take one at breakfast and one at a later meal.


  • zantacruz March 28, 2008, 6:01 pm

    Thanks for the tip, will stack up tomorrow.

  • Rob March 29, 2008, 7:33 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I’m looking forward to getting a copy of ‘Total Six-Pack Abs’ when it’s released. In the meantime, can you tell me what tweaks need to be made to the MANS Diet if my goal is to lose bodyfat (rather than gain mass)? Should I count calories? Do I still carbo load during the 36-hour window? Basically, I’m looking to cut rather than bulk. Thanks.

  • Kimberly March 31, 2008, 1:20 am

    I read in some nutrition magazine that about 97% of Americans are magnesium deficient! This little mineral is cheap. Get it and feel how fast your muscles can recover. Oh, and it helps you uhm…have regular bowel movements too. 😉 That’s part of being healthy too. Well….someone has to say it, I guess I’ll be the one. LOL! And magnesium is quite a little helper to all the other healthy nutrients you best be consuming as well.

  • Mark McManus March 31, 2008, 3:54 pm

    The book will be released later this week.
    Ok, for now all you need for now is to not carb-up. I’ll keep everyone posted on the book’s release.
    @ Kimberly, you’re right about that statistic. Think of how many of that 97% are trying to build muscle with this magnesium deficiency, not a good move.

  • Uplift April 1, 2008, 6:45 am

    Gidday, great article. I too have good results with and also recommend ZMA. Both the zinc and magnesium are in highly absorbable forms, and the zinc is in a useable form which doesn’t create a loss of copper, like other zinc supplements.
    The zinc/magnesium combo further boosts testosterone support, plus recovery, as zinc also supports immune system function. As I enjoy short intense sessions, regularly training to failure, and regularly incorporting negatives, isometrics and partials, I found myself vulnerable to flus, viruses etc, whenever I reached a certain strength and development level. Since using ZMA, I don’t have the same problem, although I did make changes to my eating style as well. I remember a lot of the original ZMA research was based around sprinters, who were found to be cronically low in both zinc and magnesium, with corresponding low testosterone levels, and compromised immunity, which supplementing with ZMA addressed. As many of the same issues are applicable to sprinting, muscle gain and weight training, I feel ZMA use is pertinant for weight trainers and body builders. It works for me anyway. I usually get mine from the USA via internet, as the prices charged for the identical brand and product here, by supplements stores, are absolutely ridiculous. However, some Ebay stores often have fairly good prices.

  • Mark McManus April 3, 2008, 10:16 pm

    Excellent contribution Uplift!

  • Nando May 19, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Mark you are A pretty big guy… Have you ever taken any testerone/androgen boosting supplements for example norotiens by la muscle. Also I take magnesium, zinc and cooper from hb I can feel the difference Immediately. Won’t the rise in naturual testosterone effect hairline?

  • Mark McManus May 19, 2009, 3:42 pm

    @Nando. No I’ve never taken anything like that. I increase my testosterone naturally with food. Your hairline won’t be affected if it’s done naturally.

  • Cynthia Clinton July 8, 2009, 10:57 pm

    Hey Mark,

    I see I’m one of your few female commenters lol. I have a tip for your on magnesium brands that are good. I have to take magnesium every day or I can’t sleep, so finding a good one has been very important to me.

    Magnesium can upset your stomach and even cause a little bloating because unless you are totally deficient, it’ll act like a laxative. I can’t hang with an upset stomach every day and probably most people wouldn’t want to either. Plus, the tablet form of magnesium is so dry, they are hard get down.

    I solved my problem with SoftMag 500mg by Nature’s Life. I get it at The Vitamin Shoppe (there is a website too). They cost about $10 for a 60-day supply – nice! The pills are good size, but since they are a soft gel, they go down like nothing. They are a combination magnesium which has several types of magnesium: magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate complex, and magnesium malate. I don’t get an upset stomach and I only have to take one a day to get all I need.

    Worth a try for those who hate taking traditional magnesium products.

  • Christopher August 21, 2009, 10:51 am

    About ZMA, I am glad to have a chance to report my experience. Since 3 weeks I am taking a ZMA pill before bedtime. The most obvious result for me is incredible dreams.It is like I am dreaming all night. Non stop. And the dreams themselves seems very long, like connected smoothly one to an other. Almost like one very long dream. And large part of them remain vivid in the memory in the morning. They are not bad dreams, rather pleasant one, but still, at first, in the morning, I felt like a bit mentally exhaust from them. And usually I always wake up fast and fresh. Now I like take 5 or 10 minutes to get over those vivid dreams and start my morning routine. Anybody else had notice this strong effect of ZMA on your sleep and on your dreams?

  • ElSmurf September 3, 2009, 10:12 pm


    I used to take ZMA but switched to cheaper magnesium/calcium/zinc pills, and they have the same effect when it comes to dreams. I actually like the effect it has and I’m kinda addicted to it by now. I always take it 15mins before going to sleep and it deepens sleep as well which is another great side-effect IMO. But that’s also due to the calming effect of the calcium.

    As far as I understand, the difference between the stuff I take and ZMA is the B-6 vitamin (and no calcium of course) but I’ve read from several sources that when it comes to the B-vitamins it’s better to take all of them in a complex form, as they heighten eachothers effectiveness. Also, I’m not fond of taking any “stimulating” vitamins before going to bed, which from my experience are the B-vitamins, vitamin C and E (the latter being a great pre-workout vitamin IME)

    Anyone else have experience with mineral/vitamin supplementation when it comes to building muscle?

  • Jim September 13, 2009, 9:56 pm

    Magnesium oil is is a much beter way to take it than capsules. it is absorbed 12x faster and near completed absorbtion into the system compared to approx 20% when ingested.

  • Jim September 13, 2009, 9:57 pm

    oh and if you rub too much in you wont get the runs like you do from ingestion. big plus for me!!