Anabolic minerals?

  • Apr 17, 2010 12:34 PM GMT
    Calcium/Magnesium and Sodium/Potassium:

    Does anyone know the optimum time to take these minerals in either food or supplement form when weight training for muscle growth?

    I have heard from a body builder that Mg should not be taken before/during a workout b/c of its effect on muscle and should instead be taken after the gym. I have also read that Sodium (Na) is anabolic and should be taken before a workout (maybe some sea salt with oatmeal before the gym?)

    Any feedback or experience would be appreciated.

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    Apr 18, 2010 10:04 PM GMT
    If your calcium supplements contain calcium carbonate, take them with meals. Stomach acid enhances absorption of calcium carbonate. If your calcium supplements contain calcium citrate, you can take them with meals or on an empty stomach It's important to note that calcium is absorbed most efficiently when it's taken in amounts of 500 milligrams (mg) or less. Calcium is used for the prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium may reduce the risk for colon cancer. There are a few other benefits, so supplementation is good.


    Magnesium is not recommended unless one has a medical problem. You can get deficient if you suffer from chronic diarrhea or have urinary loss as a result of diuretics used for heart failure or hypertension. If you have kidney disease, magnesium can accumulate and result in cardiac arrest. Magnesium can cause diarrhea, so it is commonly used as a laxative.. Milk of Magnesia or Citrate of Magnesia are examples. When used as an antiacid (Maalox or Mylanta), diarrhea can be a problem. Antiacids usually add aluminum which is constipating to counteract the diarrhea from magnesium.


    There is already far too much sodium in the average diet. If you have the predisposition, high blood pressure can result from excess sodium. Excess sodium can result in fluid accumulation which is also not cool. The only people that would need additional sodium would be long distance runners or individuals suffering from dehydration. Runners consume fluids and electrolytes during a race.


    There should be adequate potassium in the normal diet. If you have kidney disease potassium will accumulate and result in cardiac asystole==> death
    Like magnesium, potassium deficiency can be caused by prescription diuretics. Supplements are necessary in these cases.

    I doubt if there are good scientific studies concluding that minerals are anabolic. If anyone knows of a study let me know, I would like to review it. I would be reluctant to believe something I saw on a supplement web site. If you are truly deficient, a mineral deficiency can impair athletic performance. If your diet is adequate and you have no medical issues, there would be no reason to take a supplement other than for calcium.

  • Apr 19, 2010 5:58 PM GMT
    Thanks for the reply!

    In my own research I have found omega 3/6 to have either healing (Omega 3) or inflaming (Omega 6) properties on our muscles/tissues. That being said inflammation of muscles (tearing muscles during a workout) is what we should be striving for and healing/repairing post workouts. Knowing this I wondered whether minerals had these kind of effects on our system as well.
    I also remember asking a bodybuilder years ago about taking Magnesium before or during a gym session and he said I should be taking it post workout for healing muscles.

    I just want to make sure what I put in my mouth at the gym is not ruining my chances of growth.
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    Apr 20, 2010 12:33 PM GMT
    The following is off topic. I was bored, so I wrote it to have something to do.

    Omega 3 does have muscle preserving properties. Omega 3 along with protein is used to reduce muscle wasting in cancer patients. It probably is helpful in building muscle in healthy individuals. Several years ago I started taking fish oil for the prevention of age related diseases such as cardiovascular disease. I noticed that in the morning my muscles and joints did not ache as much. I'm sure you young guys don't have this problem yet, but your turn is coming.icon_lol.gif This may just be the placebo effect, but I still feel better. Omega 3 definitely has anti-inflammatory properties and is used by rheumatologists to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

    For the best health, the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in the diet should be approx 1 to 4 (experts disagree about the best ratio, and some say a ratio of 2 to 1 is the better). If there is too much omega 6, bad things start to happen. The average Western diet has as a ratio of 1 to 20 icon_eek.gif
    Too much Omega 6 shifts metabolism toward inflammation. Inflammation has been theorized as a cause of many diseases, here is a short list: heart attacks, thrombotic stroke, arrhythmia, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, mood disorders, obesity, and cancer. (1)

    It gets more confusing now. Not all forms of omega 6 fatty acids increase inflammation. Some forms reduce inflammation and are sold as supplements. Omega-6 fatty acids are available in supplemental oils that contain linoleic acid (LA) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA), such as evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) and black currant (Ribes nigrum) oils. Spirulina (often called blue-green algae) also contains GLA.

    Although not a mineral, vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle weakness. Many children are found to have low vitamin D levels because of the use of sunscreen and not enough sun exposure. Many children no longer play in the sun, but would rather stay inside playing video games, eating too much and getting fat. In the elderly, vitamin D deficiency and it's associated muscle weakness contributes to frequent falls and fractures. The elderly get little sun and have poor appetites with inadequate vitamin D intake. It is a recommendation that one should supplement daily with oral vitamin D. The appropriated dose is debatable.

    Phosphate (PO4) deficiency is one of the more common causes of nutritional muscle weakness. You can see this in chronic alcoholics with malnutrition.

    If you eat well and the diet is balanced there should be no problems.

    1.Calder, Philip C. (June 1, 2006). "n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (American Society for Nutrition) 83 (6, supplement): 1505S–1519S. PMID 1684186
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:11 AM GMT

    There is absolutely no evidence that any of these supplements are necessary if you are having a regular healthy diet. None of the products you mention are 'anabolic' that is they build muscle. The only evidenced based supplement we need is omega three but even then two portions of oily fish a week provide enough of that.
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    Apr 22, 2010 3:06 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    Some people may have conditions that warrant dietary changes. Even if the diet is healthy it can be lacking in certain minerals and nutrients. I was just reading that drinking two to three glasses of red wine a night can increase potassium levels to unfavorably high levels. This can create damage to the kidneys over time. Yet some people think this is healthy. "Well, they always said one glass a night was healthy so why not a couple more glasses?"

    I'm not familiar with the wine article you mentioned. Many experts believe there is not enough potassium in the Western diet and this may contribute to diseases.

    Recommendations of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State
    There is considerable evidence that a diet supplying at least 4.7 grams/day of potassium is associated with decreased risk of stroke, hypertension, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables are among the richest sources of dietary potassium, and a large body of evidence supports the association of increased fruit and vegetable intakes with reduced risk of chronic disease. Consequently, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends increasing potassium intake to at least 4.7 grams/day by increasing consumption of potassium-rich foods), especially fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

    American men consume just 2.8 to 3.3 grams of potassium daily on average.

    Red Wine per the USDA database has 115mg of K per 3.5 fl oz.
    one banana has 422 mg of K and a french fried fast food potato has 1164 mg of K

    The studies with wine and longevity are usually done using 10 oz of red wine. The amount of K in 10 oz of wine does not seem excessive. Wine could be used to increase the K intake of the average adult

    If you have severe kidney disease and are getting close to dialysis, potassium becomes a major problem. Diseased kidneys cannot excrete K into the urine. K accumulates in the body and blood levels rise until cardiac arrest and death occurs. These individuals need to be on a renal failure diet which restricts K.

    Trivia; Linus Pauling was the greatest structural chemist of his time. He and one other individual won Nobel prizes in two different fields. He won the Nobel prize in chemistry for determining the alpha helix structure of protein. He failed in his quest to determine the structure of DNA. This honor fell to Watson and Crick. Pauling won a second Nobel Prize for his quest for world peace. The other person was Madame Curie who won a prize in chemistry and a second in physics.

  • Apr 24, 2010 2:47 PM GMT
    I found this website relating to my original post. It gives some insight into the muscle/mineral connection:

    Here is an excerpt from this site:
    Physical treatments for stiff muscles.

    John McLaren Howard again comes to the rescue here with a fascinating idea which makes interesting links between the physical and the biochemical body! The idea here is that if a muscle is gently squashed (massaged) it responds with an "equal and opposite" pressure. Because massage does not involve active contraction of the muscle, calcium is not involved. But when the muscle relaxes, magnesium is involved, so magnesium floods into the cell and pushes calcium out. Effectively gentle massage pumps magnesium into cells and calcium out. Perhaps this is why one feels gorgeously relaxed after gentle massage?

    However the massage cannot be done by self because the initiation of that would involve calcium fluxing into cells. It has to be done by another person, (or perhaps machine?). Furthermore it has to be done very gently - harsher massage would involve calcium fluxing in again and be counter-productive.

    People with muscle stiffness can benefit greatly from moving all joints through their full range of movement before weight bearing (ie before even getting out of bed). This should be done slowly and gently and there must not be any undue stretching at the end of each movement as this will initiate a calcium-into-cells action. What one is doing is showing the muscle groups what is expected of them without invoking additional contraction - ie without encouraging calcium input into muscle cells.
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