Magnesium fact sheet

Magnesium is the second most prevalent dietary deficiency in the world ( Vitamin D is no.1).

This is probably due to farming methods depleting magnesium from the soil combined with low dietary intake levels. Whilst magnesium is not an ergogenic aid (performance improving), correcting and guarding against deficiencies in athletes should assist performance on a number of levels.

Magnesium has roles to play in muscle relaxation, anti-excitability, insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, reducing blood pressure and over 350 enzyme reactions in the body are dependent on magnesium. Magnesium’s role in preventing cramps has not been well established in the literature despite frequent anecdotal reports to the contrary.

“Some of the processes in which magnesium is a cofactor include, but are not limited to, protein synthesis, cellular energy production and storage, reproduction, DNA and RNA synthesis, and stabilizing mitochondrial membranes. Magnesium also plays a critical role in nerve transmission, cardiac excitability, neuromuscular conduction, muscular contraction, vasomotor tone, blood pressure, and glucose and insulin metabolism.

Because of magnesium’s many functions within the body, it plays a major role in disease prevention and overall health. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with a number of chronic diseases including migraine headaches, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular accident (stroke), hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Good food sources of magnesium include unrefined (whole) grains, spinach, nuts, legumes, and sweet and white potatoes (tubers)”.
Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):378S-83S. doi: 10.3945/an.112.003483.

Department of Nutrition Sciences, Center for Integrated Nutrition & Performance College of Nursing and Health Professions Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Potential Benefits
Correcting a deficiency should result in better glucose regulation, lower blood pressure and less excitability and possibly anxiety.

Anecdotally people report better sleep when taking magnesium acutely towards bedtime.

More benefits will be noticed by individuals who are deficient than those who eat a magnesium plentiful diet.

Deficiency may be associated with development of OTS

Potential Adverse Effects

Excess amounts may cause GI distress.
All minerals compete for absorption if high dose magnesium is taken a broad-spectrum multi mineral formula is advised.

Summary and Recommendations

Magnesium supplementation is used currently for assisting sleep and relaxation. No studies really support this in individuals with good levels of magnesium. Magnesium levels in athletes are often low when measured in the erythrocyte.

Magnesium should be measured in the erythrocyte and dietary or supplemental magnesium provided in an individual basis.

PAPERS AND REFERENCES – over training syndrome – higher intake less bowel cancer – review on role in cramping – cardiovascular health – some associations with strength – raises testosterone levels – immune function and low levels – may increase cortisol with exhaustion – positive effects

About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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