European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 11–12, pp 2617–2627 | Cite as

One week of magnesium supplementation lowers IL-6, muscle soreness and increases post-exercise blood glucose in response to downhill running

  • Charles James Steward
  • Yue Zhou
  • Gary Keane
  • Matthew David Cook
  • Yunyi Liu
  • Tom CullenEmail author
Original Article



Magnesium supplementation modulates glucose metabolism and inflammation, which could influence exercise performance and recovery. This study investigated the effect of magnesium intake on physiological responses and performance during eccentric exercise and recovery.


Nine male recreational runners completed a counterbalanced, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, registered at Participants consumed low magnesium diets and were supplemented with 500 mg/day of magnesium (SUP) or placebo (CON) for 7 days prior to a 10 km downhill (− 10%) running time trial (TT), separated by a 2-week washout period. At baseline and 24 h post-TT, maximal muscle force was measured. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), soluble interleukin-6 receptor (sIL-6R) and creatine kinase (CK) were measured at rest, 0 h, 1 h and 24 h post-TT. Muscle soreness was measured at the previous times plus 48 h and 72 h post. Glucose and lactate were measured during the TT.


The main effect of condition was detected for IL-6 (SUP: 1.36 ± 0.66 vs CON: 2.06 ± 1.14 pg/ml) (P < 0.05, η2 = 0.54), sIL-6R (SUP: 27,615 ± 8446 vs CON: 24,368 ± 7806 pg/ml) (P < 0.05, η2 = 0.41) and muscle soreness (P < 0.01, η2 = 0.67). Recovery of blood glucose and muscle soreness were enhanced in SUP post-TT. There were no differences in glucose and lactate during the TT, or post measures of CK and maximal muscle force.


Magnesium supplementation reduced the IL-6 response, enhanced recovery of blood glucose, and muscle soreness after strenuous exercise, but did not improve performance or functional measures of recovery.


Magnesium Interleukin-6 Exercise Recovery Glucose Muscle soreness 



Analysis of variance


Confidence interval


Creatine kinase


Effect size




Soluble interleukin-6 receptor


Standard deviation


Time trial


Author contributions

CJS and TC designed the study. CJS, TC, MDC and GK conducted laboratory experiments. CJS, TC, ZY and YL analysed data. CJS and TC drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Exercise PhysiologyBeijing Sport UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Sport and Exercise ScienceUniversity of WorcesterWorcesterUK
  3. 3.Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life SciencesCoventry UniversityCoventryUK

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