Zinc Magnesium Benefits Beyond Strength

Posted in: Sports Nutrition  on Friday, August 22, 2008
By Mike Falcon

Zinc and magnesium combinations offer many more tangible health benefits than the marked increases in muscular strength and size so familiar to explosive strength athletes. From a heightened immune system to liver protection, zinc is a wonder mineral. Magnesium is essential to muscle and heart function, and is now regarded as playing a critical role in preventing a number of illnesses.

Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts were quick to borrow the zinc and magnesium mineral mixtures to reach their own goals. The combination uses the aspartate forms of the 2 major ingredients and adds a little vitamin B-6 to increase their absorption. The supplement is available in a number of brand names.

Its initial popularity two years ago was due to a study that detailed the effects of the supplement on college football players in an 8-week training period. All athletes in the study were experienced lifters.

The results were spectacular. The athletes taking the mineral combination posted an average 11.6% increase in leg strength, compared to 4.6% in the placebo group. The group taking zinc and magnesium also had a 30% increase in free and total testosterone levels, compared to 10% decreases in the placebo group.

While these gains alone are enough to prompt many athletes to take the mix, other values of the two minerals for the general population --- whether or not they train with weights are enormous.

Zinc
Zinc is essential to numerous chemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis and cellular energy. Its immune system values begin with zinc’s ability to regulate the production of T cells. Zinc also helps provides critical protection to the liver, assists in deterring enlargement of the prostate gland, and is essential in maintaining reproductive organ health.

Zinc’s most popular application has been zinc lozenges, which have been shown to reduce the length and severity of common cold symptoms by 45-50%. Lozenges without an acid base (like orange, lemon, or others with flavorings that have citric acid or vitamin C) are markedly more effective. Take your vitamin C four hours later or earlier than your zinc. The suggested Daily Value for zinc is 15 milligrams, and these mineral combinations usually contain twice that. If you take that amount continually you’ll need additional supplemental copper.

Magnesium
Magnesium is essential for normal heart function, transporting neurochemicals essential in muscle function and mood regulation, and in the critical balance of sodium and potassium within our cells. Despite its vital contributions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 74% of people take in less than the recommended Daily Value of 400 milligrams (for men). The zinc and magnesium formulations usually contain 450 milligrams.

Remember to take zinc-magnesium formulations on an empty stomach just before going to bed. The test results were based on following those protocols.