Magnesium is a very important mineral in the body. Its functions include ensuring the nerves and muscles function properly, cardiac excitability, energy production, energy storage, boosting the immunity, and optimizing of the blood sugar levels. Because of these roles, magnesium has been suggested by medics as a great ergogenic aid for purposes of working out.
Research has discovered an interesting link between magnesium and exercise. While exercise aids in distributing and utilizing of Mg, magnesium, on the other hand, helps in cardiorespiratory functions and strength activities. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship. For instance, during a long workout session, serum Mg will most likely shift to erythrocytes which are needed for the strenuous exercise.
Studies have also established the role of Magnesium Taurate in muscle function. Mg takes part in the metabolism of energy and also assists in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. During a workout, fats, proteins, and carbs are broken down to provide the energy needed for the movement of muscles. Mg helps in the synthesis of protein and energy metabolism and this is why and how it helps in the relaxation and contraction of muscles. When Mg is added, the oxygen requirements in muscle cells reduces during a workout, which leads to the optimization of physical activity.
Exercise leads to a shift of a body’s energy substrates. Moderate exercise will decrease the concentration of glucose but increase lactate levels. This results in the decrease in efficiency of the working muscles. Increasing the magnesium levels will ultimately increase the glucose level in both the peripheral as well as the central nervous system.
Because glucose is the main source of energy, its need will increase during a workout. In principle, glycogen is rapidly broken down in muscles in order to support the movement of muscles. As soon as the glycogen is depleted, the blood will transport more glucose from the liver or kidney. Magnesium improves this process by speeding up the breakdown of glycogen.
It is not true that milk is rich in magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits and whole grains. Refined foods, fish and meat have poor supplies of magnesium. Since it is a relatively soluble mineral, it can be denatured by overcooking food. It is more concentrated in bran and germ and this is why the white refined grains typically contain less magnesium than the unrefined ones.
It is important to point out that even though optimal amounts of magnesium can lead to better performance, excessive consumption of magnesium will not make you to be a super athlete. In fact, overconsumption of any mineral will lead to an imbalance in the body and this can result in lots of other problems. Just stick to the RDA levels and you will be fine.
Interestingly, this essential mineral is often neglected in the general population even though it plays a vital role in metabolism. Since the demand for magnesium will increase during a workout, it is a good idea to ensure you have met the daily dietary recommendation. The recommended magnesium intake is 420mg for men and 320mg for women over 18 years.
A deficiency in magnesium will result in a decreased or suboptimal endurance especially during exercise. The deficiency of magnesium can also interfere with the normal neuromuscular functions. This explains why muscle cramps are associated with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplementation is already being used to deal with cramps in expectant women. The following are some risk factors that can lead to magnesium deficiency:
- Habitually eating white flour products instead of wholemeal
- Not frequently eating green leafy veggies
- Not eating enough nuts, seeds, beans or lentils
- Eating too much sugar or sugary products
- Taking too much alcohol on a regular basis
- Following a high-protein and low-carb diet.
Most of these are lifestyle issues that you can easily modify to avoid the deficiency. Even a small lifestyle change like switching from refined to unrefined grain can go a long way.
Before you start working out, take some time to investigate if you have enough magnesium in your diet. If you think you have a deficiency, start taking foods rich in magnesium. This will make your workout sessions more rewarding because you will not have to feel like all your energy was usurped by a simple routine.