Magnesium and an Athlete’s Performance and Recovery Process are Two Sides of the Same Coin
Magnesium’s roles in the athletes performance and recovery are nothing but remarkable. It is credited with synthesis of protein, fat and nucleic acids; as well as boosting neurological activity, energy production and bone metabolism. However, dietary intake of this mineral has been gradually declining over the years; which has brought serious implications with it. The following data chart, courtesy of Indiana University, highlights some of the foods known to have high magnesium content.
Magnesium as a sports supplement
Recent studies have linked poor athletic performance to a decline in magnesium levels in the body. It is unfortunate that a good number of athletes would immediately list iron, zinc and calcium among the most important vitamins for athletes; leaving out magnesium despite its proven health and athletic performance benefits. So, why do athletes need magnesium?
It kick starts the energy production process
For an athlete, energy production is very essential. Magnesium is well-known for its primary function of metabolizing nutrients by activating enzymes to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The body then breaks down ATP, in the process, releasing energy to be used by your muscles. Inadequate magnesium levels in the body results to low energy levels and poor muscle function.
Magnesium for muscles & relaxation
Intense exercises, which are a norm for athletes, cause magnesium levels to drop much faster because it is being carried through sweat and urine creating a unhealthy imbalance of calcium and magnesium in the body.
Through an imbalance of calcium and magnesium, athletes can be susceptible to strains as well as muscle cramping. Athletes may have had them during performances that were caused by dehydration. Even if they are in good physical condition and have well-trained muscles, consuming the right amount of magnesium and calcium is essential.
By consuming the two properly, your muscles contract and relax properly. Think of your muscles as a light switch on a 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; improved recovery, reduced stress, less fatigue, and diminished cramping, fueling better performances and reduced risk of injury.
Magnesium for joint pain
For most people, normal diet has proven to have inadequate amounts of magnesium. However, this is not the case with other nutrients like calcium and vitamin K2 which we get plenty of from our daily foods. Calcium, for instance, is good for our bones when our bodies put it into proper use. However, calcium without magnesium in the body leads to calcifications which often cause joint pains. These two nutrients work together synergistically.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of dozens of peer-reviewed medical publications and a wellness nutritionist, magnesium is the multi-tasking mineral that your body needs. He says: “Magnesium may actually be more important than calcium if you are going to consider supplementing. It will help keep calcium in your cells so they can do their job better. However, maintaining an appropriate calcium-to-magnesium ratio is important regardless.”
Magnesium dosage for athletes
Consider supplementing your magnesium intake through a high quality magnesium chelate such as Nutrology’s Zen Natural with di-magnesium malate. It provides you with twice as much, elemental magnesium per serving as compared to other forms providing one of the best sources of magnesium for muscle recovery. The malate compound, which is organic, also makes it that much easier for your body to absorb the magnesium. Doctors and scientists recommend a daily magnesium consumption of 2 to 3 milligrams per pound of body weight.
Click here learn more about the benefits of magnesium supplements and athletic performance including how magnesium plays a critical role in preventing adrenal fatigue.
Joanne Tull, former Fitness America, Fitness Canada and Fitness Universe finalist. Joanne is a Co-Founder of Nutrology, the naturally based sports nutrition company that has innovated clean label nutritional products used by thousands of athletes, including elites in the NFL, MLB, NHL and Professional Boxing. Having appeared on ESPN, Fox Sports and TSN after finishing a storied athletic career as a state champion, collegiate and national level gymnast, Joanne’s approach to nutrition is simple yet powerful.
Dr. Mercola, J. (2017): Benefits of Magnesium are far Greater than Previously Imagined. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/17/magnesium-benefits.aspx
Dacey, R. (2016): Magnesium Intake May Help Prevent Pancreatic Cancer: Study. Retrieved from http://www.starminenews.com/magnesium-intake-may-help-prevent-pancreatic-cancer-study/7467/
The AP Team (2017): Why Magnesium Should Be Part of Every Athlete’s Recovery Process. Retrieved from https://www.activationproducts.com/blog/why-magnesium-should-be-part-of-every-athletes-recovery-process/
Peak Performance (2017): Why Magnesium Maters to Athletes! Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/peak32.htm
The FUEL Nutrition Editorial (2015): Top Five Athletic Performance Benefits of Magnesium. Retrieved from http://www.thefuelnutrition.com/blog/top-five-athletic-performance-benefits-of-magnesium/