Magnesium and sports performance – can Magnesium help to enhance sports performance? What is it used for? And how much should I take?
What is magnesium required for?
Magnesium is an essential mineral which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue*, and to normal balance of energy, metabolism and electrolytes.* Magnesium is required for psychological function and the normal functioning of the nervous system.* Magnesium also contributes to normal muscle function and normal protein synthesis* and contributes to maintaining normal bones and teeth and the process of cell division.*
Why would you think about magnesium for sports performance?
With magnesium being involved in every aspect of sports performance, it is no surprise that magnesium supplements are taken by many active people or athletes.
The role of magnesium in muscle function has been studied extensively. Magnesium participates in the process of energy metabolism and assists the maintenance of normal muscle contraction and relaxation. Muscle performance is positively associated with blood magnesium levels in elderly and in male athletes. In addition, studies have shown that magnesium deficiency may lead to the distortion of neuromuscular function, suggesting a possible association between magnesium and muscle cramps.
Although we’re talking about oral ingestion of supplements here, magnesium muscle soaks are also popular.
What happens when we don’t take enough magnesium?
The general population, even physically active individuals, is documented to have insufficient magnesium intake. One study found half of the US population are deficient in magnesium! It really depends on the ground in which a crop is grown, as some parts of the world have no magnesium in their soil.
Sports performance may be compromised with deficient magnesium levels. Findings from animal studies suggested magnesium supplementation may improve the efficiency of energy metabolism, while human studies indicated magnesium supplementation may improve sports performance parameters in both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) state that magnesium supplementation is of benefit in healing athlete bone injuries along with vitamin D and calcium, and for those who do not meet the requirement via diet alone. They also caution people against high doses. High doses can lead to toxicity and commonly cause upset stomachs.
How much magnesium do we need?
The nutrient reference value (NRV) for magnesium is 375mg a day for adults. This is how much you need as long as you don’t have a deficiency.
How can I get more magnesium?
Almonds, cashew nuts, spinach, soya and black beans are the richest sources of magnesium which contain 60mg – 80mg per serving. If you do not eat these kinds of foods regularly you may struggle to meet your requirement every day of the ye