Magnesium: The Master Mineral for Sleep and Recovery
There is a very good reason why magnesium is the cornerstone of the Hibernate formula. It’s often referred to as “the master mineral” because it’s a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical/metabolic reactions in the body.
Ever heard of protein synthesis (the muscle-building process enhanced by anabolic steroids)? Yep, regulated by magnesium.
How about blood glucose control (the process mangled by obesity and diabetes)? Again, magnesium is vital.
As the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and an element that’s essential to every single cell in your body, maintaining proper magnesium levels is essential for optimized human health. Thus, it’s worrying that up to 50% of the US population is magnesium deficient. It’s even more frightening that strenuous exercise like weightlifting and competitive sports increases magnesium requirements by as much as 20%. And it’s downright terrifying that this deficiency renders other supplements like Vitamin D useless.
Magnesium deficiency. You heard it here first: it’s the devil.
But luckily, if you optimize your magnesium levels, you’ll soon start seeing incredible benefits like deeper sleep, lower inflammation, and protection from muscle damage. Let’s dig into the science and see why magnesium really is the “Master Mineral.”
Magnesium Supplementation Lowers Inflammation
Low magnesium has been linked to a whole mess of chronic inflammation conditions, but perhaps none so dramatically as our common enemy: poor sleep. (You did know that bad sleep jacks up inflammation, right?)
A 2010 study examined 100 adults who suffered from poor sleep. Half were given a 320mg dose of medical-grade magnesium citrate (the same good stuff in Hibernate). Half were given a placebo.
The results? After a few weeks, those taking the supplement had dramatically lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood. CRP is a blood marker of systemic inflammation, often caused by injuries, burns, infections, cancers, and horrid stuff like “inflammatory bowel disease.” We’re guessing you don’t want inflamed bowels, right?
Oh, and the folks participating in the study slept better. Surprise, surprise.
Magnesium Makes GABA Receptors Work Naturally
Lots of supplements these days include GABA, an amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in the brain and helps you fall asleep by reducing nerve activity and anxiety. Hibernate does NOT include GABA, because we learned that optimized magnesium levels negate the need for excess synthetic amino acids floating around in your head. And the science backs this up.
Researchers have known for nearly 20 years that GABA receptors are regulated by the amount of serum magnesium present. Much as it does with melatonin, magnesium acts as an agonist for these GABA receptors and actually helps them work. In fact, they don’t seem to work well without it. Thus, many sleep problems likely aren’t related to GABA deficiency, but more likely magnesium deficiency. After all, the only people who seem to suffer from GABA deficiency are drug abusers, people with PTSD, and alcoholics.
Oh, and you know those nasty prescription sleep pills like Ambien? Those which cause muscle pain, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks and decreased libido? Yeah, they unnaturally force-activate those same GABA receptors which might only need a little more magnesium to work the way they’re supposed to.
Trust us. Get your magnesium levels right, and everything starts working better.
Magnesium Increases Slow-Wave Sleep and Reverses Age-Related Hormonal Changes
It’s “common knowledge” that as you get older, you start sleeping less. Stage 3 and Stage 4 slow-wave sleep decreases (the kind when your muscles repair themselves). Cortisol levels start to rise.
But does it have to be this way? Is this really natural? The science isn’t so clear.
What is clear is that magnesium supplementation seems to reverse this process. One study from 2002 looked at the same magnesium-GABA system described above, focusing on its regulation of sleep architecture and hormonal cascades. They found that a solid dose of oral magnesium led to a significant increase in slow wave sleep and delta and sigma power (brain wave activity representing deep sleep, recovery, and memory consolidation), while cortisol decreased significantly.
What does this mean? In the researchers own words:
“Our results suggest that Mg(2+) partially reverses sleep EEG and nocturnal neuroendocrine changes occurring during aging.”
Better sleep? Less hormonal dysfunction? Partially reversed effects from aging? Yes, please.
Magnesium Exerts a Protective Effect on Muscle Damage
Included among the 300 magnesium-related biochemical reactions in the body are a handful of anabolic and catabolic processes associated with muscular performance during exercise. Researchers have long suspected that magnesium plays a role in maintaining muscle integrity, and that’s what Spanish scientists found in a study published last year.
During a 21-day stage race, the researchers analyzed blood samples from two teams of professional cyclists, following protocols established by the World Anti-Doping Agency. One team was the control group (no magnesium), and the other received 400mg per day of magnesium (the same dose included in Hibernate).
And what did they find?
While both teams showed increases of circulating tissue markers (representing intense muscular effort), the magnesium group showed lower increases in myoglobin (a protein only found in the blood after muscle injury).
In layman’s terms: magnesium supplementation limited muscle breakdown during intense athletic competition. Or, in the researchers’ own words:
“We conclude that magnesium supplementation seems to exert a protective effect on muscle damage.”
Nice to know if you’re someone who takes his gym workouts seriously.
Magnesium Causes Significant Increases in Strength Gains After Training
Long before those Spanish scientists were studying the muscle-protective effects of magnesium, researchers at Western Washington University analyzed whether our old friend Mg(2+) could actually enhance strength gains.
First they calculated dietary magnesium intake for a group of completely untrained 18-30 year olds. Then they gave half of the subjects a supplement which brought their daily magnesium intake up to roughly double the Recommended Daily Allowance (310–420mg). Finally, they planted these stalwart subjects in the gym for 3 days per week of leg-training.
After 7 weeks both groups gained strength (surprise, surprise). Fascinatingly, however, the magnesium group showed significantly greater increases in both absolute strength and relative strength (adjusted for bodyweight and lean body mass).
These findings led the researchers to suggest that magnesium enhances protein synthesis at the ribosomal level.
What does this mean? Magnesium supplementation makes you stronger (and probably makes your whey protein more effective).
Magnesium Causes the Same Effect as Blood Doping
Sound ridiculous? We thought so too. But Turkish researchers illustrated this effect in a 2007 study of Tae Kwon Do practitioners.
The subjects were split into 3 groups:
- Group 1 who received a giant dose of magnesium, but didn’t train at all.
- Group 2 who received magnesium, and DID train for up to 2 hours/day, 5 days/week.
- and Group 3 who followed the same training, but received no magnesium.
And their findings were curious.
After 4 weeks, all 3 groups showed increased erythrocyte (red blood cells) and hemoglobin levels. This is to be expected in the two groups which were training like maniacs and needed more oxygen coursing through their bloodstreams. It was not, however, expected in the group who didn’t train at all, but did receive magnesium.
While the results for this latter group weren’t mind-blowing, they were statistically significant, leading the researchers to claim that the “results suggest that magnesium supplementation positively influences the performance of training athletes by increasing erythrocyte and hemoglobin levels.”
Why is that cool?
Because that’s the exact same desirable effect caused by blood doping, which is banned by every meaningful sports organization in the world. More RBCs mean higher VO2 max. It’s why Lance Armstrong did what he did.
It’s also why Maria Sharapova received her 2-year suspension from tennis - she was taking a banned drug, meldonium, to combat a disastrous condition you should know very well by this point: magnesium deficiency!
What did we tell you? Magnesium deficiency really is the freaking devil. We wouldn’t have to worry so much if we all ate piles of natural, earth-grown, non-GMO seeds, nuts and leafy green vegetables every day. Nor would it cause so many problems if we all weren’t training so hard.
But we are training hard. And that’s why Hibernate includes a hefty dose of the “master mineral.” It really is a whole different ball game when you’ve got your magnesium levels balanced.
Deeper sleep. Less inflammation. Protection from muscle damage. Strength gains. Increased red blood cell count.
Don’t you think it’s time you got balanced?