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Magnesium Reduces Soreness, Beet It Sport Improves Performance, and Hot Water Immersion for Recovery

Welcome to our weekly summary of the latest research from the world of sports nutrition.

In this week’s summary: 

 

The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Muscle Soreness

Athlete stretching on the floor of a gym

This systematic review explored the effects of magnesium supplementation on muscle soreness in physically active individuals. Magnesium is crucial for many bodily functions, including muscle contraction and energy production. The review analyzed data from various studies and found that magnesium supplementation can reduce muscle soreness, enhance performance, aid recovery, and protect against muscle damage. To achieve these benefits, those engaged in intense exercise should consume 10-20% more magnesium than sedentary individuals, ideally in capsule form two hours before training. Maintaining adequate magnesium levels even during the off-season is also recommended.

Our thoughts: In this review, they narrowed their search to just four studies, and I’d like to see a few more before being fully convinced by magnesium's impact. Also, athletes tend to have a high magnesium diet already—leafy vegetables, nuts, bananas, etc.—so, do they always need 20% more through supplementation? That being said, magnesium isn't expensive and is widely available, so I'll add it to my regimen for the next month and see how it goes.

 

The Effects of Acute Beetroot Juice Intake on Performance

A Beet It Sport shot and its two ingredients (beets and lemons)

This study by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition investigated the effects of beetroot juice on performance and physiological responses in well-trained master rowers., Ten male rowers performed two 2000-meter rowing tests on separate occasions after consuming either beetroot juice or a placebo. The results showed that beetroot juice improved rowing times by an average of 4 seconds and increased their maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), indicating enhanced endurance. Despite these significant performance gains, beetroot juice did not affect breathing efficiency or blood lactate levels, which are indicators of exercise intensity and muscle fatigue. This suggests that while beetroot juice can boost overall performance and endurance, it does not significantly impact other aspects of physical exertion.

Our thoughts: The depth of research on beet juice—specifically Beet It Sport, which almost all beetroot juice research is carried out using—is significant now. The results of this study are just another feather in an already crowded cap. How beetroot juice actually works is still being debated though. Is it to do with blood flow, muscle efficiency, or maybe something else? Scientists are largely still scratching their heads.

 

Hot Water Immersion is More Effective Than Cold for Recovery 

Athlete taking an ice bath

This 2024 study investigated the effects of hot and cold water immersion on muscle recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage. Thirty active men performed a workout designed to cause muscle damage, followed by one of three recovery methods: cold water immersion (11°C), hot water immersion (41°C), or a warm bath (36°C) as a control. Researchers measured muscle strength, the ability to develop force quickly, and muscle soreness before the workout and at 24 and 48 hours post-workout. The results showed that while muscle strength returned to normal levels with both cold and hot water immersion, hot water immersion uniquely restored the muscles' ability to develop force quickly and reduced muscle soreness by 48 hours. Additionally, the study found that cold water immersion increased low-frequency muscle activity, indicating muscle fatigue, which wasn't observed with hot water immersion. These findings suggest that hot water immersion is more effective than cold water immersion for recovering rapid force development and alleviating soreness, which are crucial for athletic performance, and athletes seeking to enhance recovery after intense exercise can benefit most from hot water immersion.

Our thoughts: An interesting and likely unpopular outcome here. You’ve got to remember that the measurements of force development were taken hours after the immersion, not immediately after. Could we be going full circle and switching back to saunas or steam rooms between training sessions? Only time will tell.

 

That’s all for this week. That’s all for this week! If you learned something new from this article and are curious to know more, head to the Blonyx Blog or our growing list of weekly research summaries where we help you further improve your athletic performance by keeping you up to date on the latest findings from the world of sports nutrition.

 

— Train hard!

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