October 06, 2022 7 min read

What is delayed onset muscle soreness?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is commonly experienced after exerting your muscles beyond what they’re used to. From going for a run for the first time in a while to a heavy weights session at the gym, a variety of exercise activities can bring on this muscle soreness. While unpleasant, delayed onset muscle soreness is an indication of important muscle adaptations, which are essential to optimising muscle function and mass.


Why does delayed onset muscle soreness occur?

Delayed onset muscle soreness is not just muscle fatigue. It is related to a process called exercise induced muscle damage. According to the Muscle Damage Theory (Hough, 1908), when muscles are loaded beyond their normal levels, mechanical trauma occurs, tearing the muscle fibres apart, allowing fluid to flow into the muscle over a period of hours to days. This swelling pressure in the muscle stimulates nerve endings which produce pain signals. This process, while it may leave you feeling stiff and sore, is essential to stimulating protein synthesis which helps with muscle recovery and repair. This is what allows the body to make more muscle fibres to allow it to withstand higher loads. It is this process which leads to muscle building or hypertrophy. 

It is important to note that this experience lessens after repeated bouts of exercise with similar loading on the muscle. That is, given time and consistency, delayed onset muscle soreness should reduce in frequency and intensity. 

It is important to note that delayed onset muscle soreness is just that - delayed. Any immediate muscle soreness or pain during or immediately following physical activity is not normal and should be investigated.


Using magnesium for muscle recovery

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the daily function of our bodies. Young, old, or in-between, important biological processes such as energy production, fuel utilisation and muscle recovery and contraction are dependent on magnesium balance [1,2,3]. Magnesium has a variety of applications in maintaining muscle function, relieving muscle soreness and optimising muscle recovery.


Magnesium for sore muscles

Magnesium is a natural anti-inflammatory, which means it helps to reduce inflammation and swelling (through reducing the key inflammatory marker C-reactive protein). This means it is great for muscle recovery - relieving tired, stiff, and sore muscles, such as in cases of delayed onset muscle soreness.

Topical magnesium, such as Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Gel is a great option, and perfect for deep tissue massages. This thick, luxurious gel relieves muscle pains, aches, and soreness, supports joint health, and helps supports muscle health, function, and mass.


Magnesium for muscle cramps

Magnesium plays a key role in how the brain communicates with the muscles and in muscle contraction itself. Combine strenuous exercise with low magnesium and you’re more likely to experience muscle cramping [4]. 

Help to prevent and relieve muscle cramps with Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Gel, which is perfect for massaging into those tight and sore muscles. If you’re out and about, pop a bottle of Magnesium Spray in your sport’s bag, to get rid of those pesky leg cramps on-the-go.


Magnesium for muscle relaxation

Muscle recovery and relaxation is just as, if not more important than exercise itself. After a strenuous exercise session, it is important to give your muscles a chance to properly recover to ensure they are working optimally and to prevent overuse injuries.

Soak your cares away in Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Bath Soak, which combines organic certified magnesium, lavender oil and highly concentrated salt leaving your muscles supple and ready for a restorative night’s sleep. After your bath, Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Lotion is excellent for soaking up your daily dose of Magnesium, while moisturising your skin.  It is great for use on tired legs, feet, or any other areas of tenderness.


Can magnesium be used to treat delayed onset muscle soreness?

Absolutely it can! A natural anti-inflammatory, magnesium can help to reduce swelling within the muscles which contributes to delayed onset muscle soreness. Enhance your muscle recovery through topical magnesium application of a Magnesium Spray or Gel.


Which magnesium is best for muscles?

Topical magnesium

Transdermal or topical magnesium include forms such as sprays, lotions, gels, and bath salts…the list is endless. Combining the healing power of magnesium with our body’s largest organ – the skin, transdermal solutions are promising avenues for magnesium supplementation and used widely by holistic health practitioners. Transdermal magnesium is an easy, convenient, inexpensive way of getting your magnesium, while bypassing your gut. Which means… no nasty side effects!

Abundant Natural Health is your one-stop shop for transdermal magnesium. Here are the best ways to use them: 

  • Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Gel is thick and great for deep tissue massages. Gel goes a lot further than other forms of topical magnesium due to its consistency, so you don’t have to apply as much. It also may take longer to dry.
  • Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Lotion is thinner and lighter and can double up as a moisturiser. It is great for everyday use and help to keep your skin supple, hydrated and absorbing this important mineral.
  • Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Spray is great for fast relief of muscle soreness on-the-go. It is a great addition to your sports bag and give you a boost right when you need it!
  • Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium Bath Soak is a deeply calming magnesium bath, designed to gently exfoliate and soften the skin, assist with muscle recovery, and allow you to soak up this versatile mineral.


Magnesium supplements

There are plenty of magnesium supplements on the market today – capsules, tablets, liquids, you name it. So how do you know if you’re getting the bang for your buck? There are two factors at play –the quantity and type of magnesium in the supplement.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium depends on your age and gender. In general, adults need 310-420mg of magnesium a day [5], the rest is excreted by the kidneys (unless you have a disease affecting your kidneys, you may want to talk to your doctor before you try supplements) [6].  

Now look at the type of magnesium in the supplement. Lots of supplements contain magnesium oxide or other inorganic magnesium forms, and while they might have high quantities of elemental magnesium, have a low ability to be dissolved and used by the body. Instead, look for organic magnesium compounds (such as magnesium glycinate, citrate, lactate, and fumarate) as they are more easily absorbed and used by the body, and easier on the stomach [7,8,9].

Abundant Element – Muscle is a tonic high in organic magnesium (containing 750mg of magnesium glycinate in 30mL). As an organic compound, the magnesium absorbs better in the gut and is more available for use by the body than inorganic forms of magnesium [9,10,11]. Magnesium Glycinate is gentle on the stomach and well tolerated by the body. Additionally, the amino acid, Glycine, is a building block of important proteins, and can be used to protect against muscle wasting [12]. 


Should you take magnesium before or after a workout?

Magnesium ions play an essential role in the crossbridge cycle which drives muscle contraction and helps the brain communicate effectively with the body. In addition, strenuous exercise increases urinary and sweat losses, increasing your magnesium requirement by 10-20% [13]. Use magnesium before you work out to optimise your muscle mass and function. For those of us on the go, using a spray or consuming a liquid supplement allows for quick absorption of magnesium into the body’s tissues.


Using high quality magnesium for muscles

Achieve your exercise goals today with the highest quality magnesium available on the market today! Abundant Natural Health’s Magnesium and Abundant Element ranges are concentrated with high purity, quality organic certified magnesium from the Australian company, EcoMag. EcoMag source their specialised magnesium chemicals sustainably from ocean water, rather than mining the mineral. Use Abundant Natural Health today for a superior quality, highly effective, ethically sourced, and sustainable magnesium.



  1. Aikawa, J. K. (1982). Magnesium: Its biological significance. Boca Raton. Fla., 1981.
  2. Swaminathan, R. (2003). Magnesium metabolism and its disorders. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, 24(2), 47.
  3. Saris, N. E. L., Mervaala, E., Karppanen, H., Khawaja, J. A., & Lewenstam, A. (2000). Magnesium: an update on physiological, clinical and analytical aspects. Clinica chimica acta, 294(1-2), 1-26.
  4. NPS MEDICINEWISE. (2014). Magnesium, a treatment for leg cramps?. Retrieved from shorturl.at/eqMUZ.
  5. Institute of Medicine (IOM). (1997).  Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  6. Fine, K. D., Santa Ana, C. A., Porter, J. L., & Fordtran, J. S. (1991). Intestinal absorption of magnesium from food and supplements. The Journal of clinical investigation, 88(2), 396-402.
  7. Uysal, N., Kizildag, S., Yuce, Z., Guvendi, G., Kandis, S., Koc, B., ... & Ates, M. (2019). Timeline (bioavailability) of magnesium compounds in hours: which magnesium compound works best?. Biological trace element research, 187(1), 128-136.
  8. Coudray, C., Rambeau, M., Feillet-Coudray, C., Gueux, E., Tressol, J. C., Mazur, A., & Rayssiguier, Y. (2005). Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg-depleted rats using a stable isotope approach. Magnesium research, 18(4), 215-223.
  9. Schuchardt, J., & Hahn, A. (2017). Intestinal absorption and factors influencing bioavailability of magnesium-an update. Current Nutrition & Food Science, 13(4), 260-278.
  10. Uysal, N., Kizildag, S., Yuce, Z., Guvendi, G., Kandis, S., Koc, B., ... & Ates, M. (2019). Timeline (bioavailability) of magnesium compounds in hours: which magnesium compound works best?. Biological trace element research, 187(1), 128-136.
  11. Coudray, C., Rambeau, M., Feillet-Coudray, C., Gueux, E., Tressol, J. C., Mazur, A., & Rayssiguier, Y. (2005). Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg-depleted rats using a stable isotope approach. Magnesium research, 18(4), 215-223.
  12. Koopman, C. (2017). Glycine metabolism in skeletal muscle: implications for metabolic homeostasis. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 20(4), 237–242. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0000000000000383
  13. Nielsen, F. H., & Lukaski, H. C. (2006). Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise.

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