Magnesium in Sports
Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients for athletic performance. Magnesium plays a vital role in bone health and synthesis of proteins, fats and nucleic acids, muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve function, cardiac activity, blood pressure regulation, hormonal interactions and immunity. Magnesium is also involved in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production from fatty acid oxidation. ATP is considered to be the energy currency of life. It is a high-energy molecule that stores energy we need and is present in all cells particularly in muscle cells.
Despite of magnesium’s essential role in energy production, many athletes and coaches are unaware of the critical importance of this “Magical Mineral” in maintaining health and performance. According to research, having a low level of magnesium can seriously weaken athletic performance. Magnesium deficiency can prevent an athlete from taking his/her game to the next level and to not performing to its full capacity because of lack of the said mineral.
Athletes’ magnesium needs are higher than less-active people. And because of excessive exercise and trainings, athletes do tend to lose magnesium through sweat and urine. Therefore, they are more prone to magnesium deficiency with poor diet. Magnesium deficiency is quiet common –surveys indicate that more than seventy percent (70%) of the population consumes insufficient magnesium. This is probably because of our dietary choices. Our eating habits generally rely on processed, high-starch and refined foods, which are all poor sources of this magical mineral. With the fact that athletes diets are low in magnesium it leads to a need for supplementation through the consumption of magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Athletes are advised to increase their consumption of these foods on their diet. But for an athlete who loses magnesium faster, it is not enough. It is not even enough for sedentary individuals!
How can an athlete consume enough magnesium daily?