Did you know that not getting enough magnesium can prevent you from reaching your workout goals?
It doesn’t matter how hard you work if your body isn’t also getting the nutrients it needs. A lack of magnesium will hinder your ability to perform, and make the recovery process slower.
So, what is Magnesium, and how does it work?
Magnesium is the fourth-most abundant mineral in the body, with approximately 60 percent of it found in bone and 30 percent in skeletal and cardiac muscle. It is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is crucial for energy production, muscle function, protein synthesis and insulin metabolism (Bailey, 2018). This makes it of critical importance for physical performance. Yet magnesium is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies seen in athletes resulting in reduced performance, lactic acid build up, muscle cramping and poor recovery (Bailey, 2018).
Our muscles contract and relax through a balancing of calcium and magnesium. In layman’s terms: Calcium causes muscle contraction, and magnesium does the opposite by helping the muscles to relax. This balance fails if magnesium levels are too low and calcium begins to dominate. This can cause our muscles to become tighter, as well as cause pain and spasms. Other symptoms of low magnesium can include: difficulty sleeping, fatigue, restless legs, and multiple more. (Mann, 2017)
Where can you get magnesium from?
It is suggested that individuals get between 300 and 400mg of magnesium per day. Food is obviously the most ideal way to get all of our nutrients, including magnesium. Spinach is one of the best-known sources of this mineral. However, you can also get it from pumpkin seeds, kelp, swiss chard, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, and a number of other food sources. Foods that have a lot of fiber also tend to have plenty of magnesium. While magnesium can be obtained through various foods, it is still estimated that about half of the North American population is deficient in magnesium (Arnarson, 2017). Supplementation can be a great way to add magnesium to your diet without having to be constantly seeking it out in foods. Some studies suggest that magnesium be taken at night, as it can help relax your body and muscles before bed.