Why Magnesium Should Be Part of Every Athlete’s Recovery Process
Did you know that magnesium, an essential mineral that is required by virtually every cell, is especially important to muscles?
Many medical specialists are now advising that magnesium should be part of every athlete’s recovery process.
Magnesium is an essential building block for hundreds of chemical processes in the body. Your muscles’ ability to contract and relax is highly dependent on how much magnesium your body is getting.
Other things affected by magnesium include:
- Nerve function
- Cardiac activity
- Blood pressure regulation
- Hormonal interactions
- Bone health
- Synthesis of proteins, fats and nucleic acids
The list goes on. The bottom line is that magnesium is the multi-tasking mineral your body needs and is probably not getting enough of.
Perhaps the most high-profile process that magnesium is used for is metabolizing nutrients and turning them into energy.
Magnesium activates enzymes which help produce something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
Why is ATP important? ATP plays a crucial role in the metabolic process. When your body breaks down ATP, the energy that is released is used by your muscles.
The more you exercise and the harder you exercise, the faster your body burns up the energy released from breaking down ATP.
If you’re not getting enough magnesium, it can result in low energy levels and problems with muscle function.
Magnesium Relieves Cramped Muscles
Magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms. 500mg of magnesium gluconate quickly helped relax and reduce muscle spasms in one study involving an adult female athlete.
As a result of exercising outside for long periods, she had been experiencing severe cramping in her muscles.
Magnesium levels drop more quickly when you exercise. This is the result of magnesium being carried out through sweat and urine which are produced in greater amounts during physical exertion.
During intense exercise, magnesium moves from the blood plasma into the red blood cells as a way of balancing the loss of energy normally produced by higher levels of oxygen.
Essentially, the less oxygen that your cells get (as a result of intense exercise), the greater the movement of magnesium from the plasma into the red blood cells.
Obviously, based on this, athletes and others who exercise at high-intensity levels for extended periods of time or people working in hot or humid environments often require more magnesium.
Prolonged magnesium deficiency can weaken bones because the body needs magnesium in order to use calcium, which helps to keep bones strong.
If left untreated, magnesium deficiency can also contribute to anemia, irregular heart rate and even mental health issues.
Magnesium is an essential building block for our bodies. Necessary for nearly every chemical process and for the functioning of every system in the body, magnesium is sometimes called the “master mineral”.
If you exercise a lot or do manual labor, you might just have assumed that symptoms like low energy, altered heart rates or muscle cramps were an unavoidable result of being active and busy.
There is a good chance, though, that you could turn things around just by supplementing with magnesium.
The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 300 mg for men and 270 mg for women, but these are based on the average population.
Opinions on how much magnesium active people should be getting daily vary.
For example, Michele Vieux, at CrossfitInvictus.com writes that: “Sedentary individuals need 600 mg a day and larger athletes in heavy training mode could do up to 2,000 mg a day.” It’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider if you’re looking for advice about how much is right for you.
Too much magnesium, especially when taken orally, can cause cramping and diarrhea.
To learn more about the benefits of taking magnesium through your skin using a spray, check out this recent blog post.
Endurance Athletes Need More Magnesium
If you’re an endurance athlete then you may already be aware of your body’s higher nutrient requirements.
Magnesium is one of those nutrients. High-performance athletes have a faster turnover of energy, use their muscles more, put greater stress on their bones and sweat more, so they definitely require more magnesium.
Magnesium is an electrolyte — the importance of replenishing your body of it after you’ve been sweating for an extended period of time can not be stressed enough.
FuelNutrition.com notes that “Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients for athletes who want to maximize athletic performance. It’s involved in optimizing strength, energy metabolism and protein synthesis—all key factors for athletic success. Magnesium also has a protective effect against stress and may enhance recovery from intense exercise.”
Magnesium is mostly found in plant foods, where it is one of the components of chlorophyll. Magnesium deficiencies used to stem mainly from poor diet.
Nowadays, even with a good diet, you can easily become magnesium deficient.
Due to industrial farming practices, most soil is lacking in nutrients, which translates into fewer nutrients in our food. To get enough magnesium you now need to ingest even more of the ‘right foods’ than you would have needed to decades ago.
Say Goodbye to Joint Pain
It’s not easy to get enough magnesium from your diet alone (though we certainly encourage you to seek out foods that are rich in it). In contrast, we tend to get plenty of calcium from our diets.
Many people supplement with calcium too, believing it to be good for their bones. It absolutely is, but only if the body is able to use it properly… and that’s where magnesium comes back into play.
As PureShiva.com points out “Many people take single-nutrient supplements, simply to achieve health benefits on a “per supplement” basis. While that might make sense for some vitamins, it surely isn’t advised for calcium… magnesium does convert vitamin d into its active form, thus it can help calcium absorption. Furthermore, the absence of magnesium instantly brings down the effectiveness of calcium.”
What does this mean? Well, your body needs calcium to support healthy bones and joints, but if it is taken without magnesium you could develop calcifications that can do further damage.
Getting magnesium into your system can help you absorb calcium properly, preventing and breaking down calcifications.
This can get your stiff, sore joints working properly again, eliminating that pain.
Magnesium Essential to Heart Health
Magnesium deficiency can have critical consequences for your body, especially your heart. Dr. Mercola writes that: “Every cell in your body depends on magnesium to function. This includes your teeth, bones, hormones, nervous system and your heart. The highest concentrations of magnesium in your body are actually in your heart and your brain, which is why a deficiency can actually be deadly.”
Magnesium can help your blood vessels to function properly and it helps you maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
There have also been studies done that showed that magnesium can help to protect your heart from the stress of exercise. In hospitals, magnesium is added to IV bags in order to help achieve and maintain a healthy heart rhythm.
Here are some foods that are high in magnesium and that you should include in your diet:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole grain bread
- Beans or lentils
- Cashew nuts
- Sesame seeds
Magnesium is hard to get enough of from your diet alone, though, as I mentioned above.
Getting enough magnesium can improve your physical performance by lowering your body’s levels of lactic acid and boosting energy during prolonged exercise through its positive effect on the nervous system, so it’s worth trying.
EASE is absorbed quickly, providing instant relief from aches, pains and muscle cramps. It enters your bloodstream through your skin and ensures that you have enough magnesium for your body to use, no matter how active you are. Plus, because it bypasses the digestive system, it won’t cause stomach issues which can be a problem with oral magnesium supplements.
Want to know if you’re getting enough magnesium from your diet? Take the quiz:
Or watch the video and get the facts on the growing magnesium deficiency problem among American adults.
Discover 10 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
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