THE MAGIC OF MAGNESIUM
In today's on-the-go lifestyle that includes fast-food runs and high stress in the workplace, Americans are feeling the effects of magnesium deficiency.
Though once abundant in plant and animal sources, most foods today are overly processed, removing most of the nutritional content. Americans are simply not getting enough magnesium from the foods they consume. In fact, 80% of the U.S. population is magnesium deficient. On average, consumers are receiving about 175-225mg of magnesium a day when the RDA for magnesium is 400-420mg per day for men, and 310-320mg per day for women.
ELEMENTAL MAGNESIUM AND BIOAVAILABILITY
Magnesium may be purchased in many different forms, and the overall quality is largely based on two important factors: the amount of elemental magnesium, and bioavailability.
Elemental magnesium refers to the actual amount of magnesium in a supplement. If, for instance, magnesium is bonded to citric acid to form magnesium citrate, most of the milligrams listed would come from citric acid. The label may state 500mg of magnesium citrate, but in reality you are only getting 100-160mg of elemental magnesium, which is a misrepresentation of the actual amount. Nutrology's ZEN NATURAL uses Di-magnesium malate, a form of ionized magnesium that is very rich in elemental magnesium.
Di-magnesium malate consists of one molecule of malic acid (an organic acid found in apples) and two molecules of magnesium. This will allow you to receive two times as much elemental magnesium per serving compared to other forms. The powerful combination of magnesium and malic acid plays a vital role in ATP synthesis and energy production, which also helps to combat fatigue.
In order to obtain the full effects of magnesium, proper absorption is needed. One of the best ways to improve bioavailability is the process of bonding magnesium to an organic compound such as malic acid. This allows the magnesium to be 100% soluble in the body and highly absorbable. Ionized magnesium passes through the harsh environment of the stomach, is absorbed in the intestinal wall, and quickly enters the bloodstream. The ionic bond is then broken as magnesium releases itself from the malic acid, and is ready to be used by your body.
An example of a poorly absorbed form is magnesium oxide, which yields only a 4-6% absorption rate. This would probably not be your ideal choice for valuable supplementation, and is more likely to cause laxative side effects.
THE HEALTHY CAL-MAG RATIO
We have a love affair with calcium consumption. Modern marketing would have you believe that consuming excessive amounts of calcium is good for your health. Our grocery stores are full of calcium-fortified foods, and calcium-rich dairy products to ensure everyone gets their RDA of calcium. Unfortunately, magnesium does not have the same marketing awareness, which hinders consumers' ability to receive the proper balance of calcium and magnesium from their diet.
Excessive amounts of calcium to magnesium in our blood can be very unhealthy. Magnesium dissolves the calcium in our blood stream so it can be used by the body. If we are deficient in magnesium, the undissolved calcium can calcify leading to arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and kidney stones. Consuming an imbalance of calcium to magnesium can also contribute to muscle cramping and hypertension.
In a recent meta study, researchers from Zhejiang University and Zhengzhou University in China looked at over one million people across nine countries. The group that consumed the most magnesium had a 1 0 0 0 lower risk of coronary heart disease, a 12% lower risk of stroke, and 26% lower risk of type 2 diabetes It is important that athletes closely monitor their intake of calcium to magnesium to avoid this imbalance.
Proper calcium to magnesium levels are essential, and our bodies work best when these two powerful nutrients are consumed in a one-to-one ratio!
REDUCE MUSCLE CRAMPING
Through an imbalance of magnesium and calcium, you can be susceptible to strains as well as muscle cramping. You may have had them during performances that were caused by dehydration. Even if you are in good physical condition and have well-trained muscles, consuming the right balance of magnesium and calcium is essential.
By consuming the two properly, you'll help your muscles contract and relax. Think of your muscles as a light switch on your wall---calcium enters cells and makes muscles contract, which is like turning the light switch to the on position. Magnesium then pushes the calcium out of the cell and makes muscles relax, which is like moving the light switch to the off position.
If magnesium is deficient, then the body has a hard time turning off the light switch, which leads to muscle tension, cramping, and potential strains. This occurs when the muscle contracts or misfires while in the process of relaxing, and can result in slight to severe tearing of the muscle.
As an ideal supplement for athletic competitors, the effects of magnesium are evident. With improved recovery, reduced stress, less fatigue, and diminished cramping, you'll be on your way to better performances and reduced risk of injury.
COMBATING ADRENAL FATIGUE WITH MAGNESIUM
As an athlete, you may have consumed pre-workout supplements that included caffeine. But did you know that this can impact your adrenal levels? Caffeine stimulates the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. Consuming more than 400mg per day of caffeine can lead to adrenal fatigue, which negatively affects your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Many athletes overuse pre-workout drinks when trying to cope with adrenal exhaustion, but this ends up making matters worse.
This is due to the fact that your metabolic functions begin to break down when your adrenal glands are exhausted. You'll find yourself fatigued, lethargic, and unproductive throughout the day. If you want to combat adrenal fatigue, supplementing with magnesium can do the trick by boosting energy levels.
As stress increases, your magnesium levels will decrease and limit the production of ATP, which is the high-impact energy athletes need during exercise. A powerful nutrient to calm your adrenal glands, magnesium plays a key role in creating energy producing pathways. This will allow you to work harder for improved performances and everyday tasks.
IMPROVE SLEEP AND STRESS
With its ability to regulate cortisol (the stress hormone), magnesium plays an important role in reducing anxiety.
Low levels of magnesium lead to exhaustion, sleepiness, and irritability. This causes poor control of electrical conduction in the neurons within the muscles, and can lead to insomnia. In other words, magnesium serves as a chemical to calm your state of excitement.
Since stress affects sleep, you'll have a repeated pattern of low energy. By supplementing with magnesium, you'll repress the release of stress hormones, and help your body relax for better sleep.
If you can stay rested and mentally focused, you'll maximize performance for greater results. High anxiety will deplete magnesium from your body, and supplementation is needed to ward off the deficiency. Also known as one of the cofactors of dopamine and serotonin, magnesium will also elevate your mood for better snooze time and less stress.
As depletion of minerals occurs after an intense workout, restoring magnesium is an effective method to speed up recovery.
Sports drinks can help refuel your body after you partake in strenuous exercise, but replacing lost magnesium is essential to reduce lactic acid buildup and balance calcium-magnesium levels in the muscle.
Magnesium and malic acid also play a vital role in ATP production
(the body's energy source). Muscle fatigue is caused by the breakdown of muscle proteins due to a deficiency of oxygen needed for ATP production.
Since magnesium can manufacture ATP efficiently, you'll experience faster recovery to optimize your training.
Alutra BM, Rosenoff A, “Introduction: importance of Mg in physiology and medicine and the need for ion selective electrodes” Scan J Clinical Lab Invest Supp, volume 217, pp. 5-9, 1994.
"Definition of Magnesium Deficiency". MedicineNet.com. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
Swaminathan, R. "Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders". Clin Biochem Rev. 24: 47–66 PMC 1855626.