The importance of Magnesium in an active lifestyle

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Humans have a multifarious body mechanism that needs an assortment of elements to perform their activities. In every single moment, hundreds to thousands of biochemical reactions taking place in our bodies. Have you ever wondered how these activities happen? What are the elements that contribute to the metabolism of our corpses? Sometimes we might remain futile in the identification of right element required to perform specific body function. Same is in the case for exercise and sportive activity, being a professional athlete or a sportive kind of person, you should know the significance and right usage of different micro and macronutrients. For this reason, we have been discussing the finest micronutrient which plays a crucial role in your supportive performance levels. This article contains all of the information about the essential element “Magnesium”. I and my team do care about our readers and being a Nutritionist, I am enlightening the importance of magnesium to perform your exaggerative activity in this piece of writing.

What actually is considered as sportive activity?

Before moving further, first thing first, I will try to base what exactly the term “sportive activity” refers to? As we all know “Excuses don’t burn calories, exercise does!” and to explain exercise we will say that it is a form of physical activity that is performed keeping an aim to improvise and maintain your physical health and fitness. Some do participate in sports for the sake of entertainment while some do workouts and gym to uphold their physical facade and fitness. To get hold of the best physical outcomes, you ought to pursue a well maintained physical dynamic regimen.

Why we need nutrients to perform bodily functions?

You might have heard “You Are What You Eat”. It is without a doubt that the human body needs the energy to perform its minor to major, in short, all activities. Here comes a question, where do we get energy from? To get-up-and-go we eat food, food is full of nutrients. Our body doesn’t synthesize all nutrient, including magnesium, we obtain them from our diet. Nutrients have been classified into macro and micronutrients, which are further divided into sub-categories, all of them have their significance. This article is specifically focusing on the significance of magnesium and its relationship with athletic activity. Before elaborating their relationship, let’s give a glance at Magnesium’s introduction, functions, and dietary intake. So that you can better understand your health status and apprehend what is needed when!

Magnesium chemical symbol

What Magnesium is?

Magnesium is an essential micro-nutrient stand in the category of minerals. It is a co-factor of more than 400 enzymatic reactions in our bodies. It helps in maintaining bone structure. It contributes to performing intra-cellular functions by forming Magnesium ATPs (Adenosine Tri-phosphate). Its adequate intake is essential for optimal physical recital and resurgence. Athletes and people who live a sportive lifestyle may needs more Magnesium to sustain their activity performance and muscular development then people who doesn’t.

Functions of Magnesium

It is an essential mineral and plays a vital role in performing several body functions, such as:

  • Neuronal functions
  • Cardiac activities (heart rhythm)
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Muscular contraction
  • Neuromuscular diffusion
  • Cell growth and reproduction
  • Protein synthesis
  • Bone integrity
  • Regulates blood glucose levels
  • Boost Calcium absorption

Recommended daily dietary allowance for Magnesium

As Magnesium is a micro-nutrient and helps in muscle function, its daily dietary intake is comparatively low in women. But its intake amount varies from genders to genders and certain physical conditions. The below stated list is derived from NIH (National Institute of Health) magnesium fact sheet, developed by FNB (Food and Nutrition Board) to specify the AI (adequate intake) of magnesium for individuals with different body needs.

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 30 mg
7–12 months 75 mg
Children 1–3 years 80 mg
Children 4–8 years 130 mg
Children 9–13 years 240 mg
Teen boys 14–18 years 410 mg
Teen girls 14–18 years 360 mg
Men400–420 mg
Women 310–320 mg
Pregnant teens 400 mg
Pregnant women 350–360 mg
Breastfeeding teens 360 mg
Breastfeeding women 310–320 mg

Dietary sources of Magnesium

Magnesium can be found abundantly in natural foods. You can obtain it from a variety of foods and fulfill your daily requirement. But for athletes and persons with certain medical conditions, its intake may be increased or decreased. Addition of Magnesium supplements in daily routine may be prescribed by your doctor or nutritionist after assessing your body’s Magnesium status during an examination. Naturally, Magnesium can be found in nuts, milk, and dairy products, chicken, carbohydrates rich foods, bananas, salmon, broccoli and apple.

FoodMilligrams (mg) per servingPercent DV*
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce8020
Spinach, boiled, ½ cup7820
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce7419
Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup6316
Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 large biscuits6115
Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup6115
Black beans, cooked, ½ cup6015
Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup5013
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons4912
Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices4612
Avocado, cubed, 1 cup4411
Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces4311
Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup4211
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces4211
Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet369
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup359
Banana, 1 medium328
Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, 3 ounces267
Milk, 1 cup244
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces246
Raisins, ½ cup236
Chicken breast, roasted, 3 ounces226
Beef, ground, 90% lean, pan broiled, 3 ounces205
Broccoli, chopped and cooked, ½ cup123
Rice, white, cooked, ½ cup 103
Apple, 1 medium92
Carrot, raw, 1 medium72

*DV = Daily Value
The FDA has established the list of foods containing DV of magnesium to assist consumers in order to obtain adequate amount of nutrients.

Let’s be acquainted with the relationship between Magnesium and athletic activity

a woman is having difficulties to stretch

In our bodies, Magnesium is found abundantly. Almost 50% of this essential nutrient is found in our bones and the rest of 50% is present inside cells and body organs. Just a minute amount of it is found in the bloodstream. This extraordinary element plays a critical role in energy production and muscle function, and due to these tremendous qualities, as an athlete or zealous physical active individual, you cannot ignore its status in your life. Magnesium is also known as “Ergogenic Aid” in an athlete’s life. During aggressive physical activity, all you need is a well-maintained body and cardio-respiratory stamina. And fortunately, Magnesium is essential for both of these. Basic muscular functions require Magnesium for their contraction and relaxation. There are accelerated metabolic functions continuously taking place an athlete’s body, therefore they require relatively high amounts of serum Magnesium intake. It has been observed from a study that individuals, who had Magnesium deficiency, were observed as poor performers in physical strength programs. It proves that magnesium deficiency may lead to bungling bodily functions. It is a great element assist in boosting aerobic activities and cardiac-respiratory indices. For an athlete, muscle strength is as important as oxygen and food, studies have shown that magnesium has its potential effects on certain muscular functions such as grip power, lower-leg strength, knee expansion torque, ankle extension power, isometric trunk flexion, rotation, jumping strength, etc. it has also been observed from some studies that Magnesium not only contribute to muscle strength and function but also helps in muscle recovery after surgeries and other medical conditions. A new hype have been created about magnesium is that zinc magnesium aspirate is seemed to be a fueling agent in athlete’s body. This element fuels up the performance levels of sportspersons and athletes.
Here is a point that needs to be considered, Magnesium concentration in our bodies does not behave same in all situations, and it varies from activity levels, there are two types of activities levels discussed below;

Short-term exercises

Some studies show that short-term physical activities (exercise, sports) may increase the magnesium concentration in the bloodstream.

Long-term exercises

On the other hand, long-term and laborious activities may reduce blood’s magnesium levels.

Should you add Magnesium supplements in your diet?

The addition of magnesium supplement is required when you don’t take its adequate amount from your diet. As mentioned above, its requirement varies from gender and age. Its deficiency or excess may cause you severe health issues. Your physician/ nutritionist will suggest you a suitable supplement after a thorough physical examination. There are different types of magnesium supplements available in market which may differ from each other in regards to their absorption, molecular size and nutrient quantity. Nutrients perform in better way when they are combined with other nutrients/substances. Some of market available chemical substances are mentioned below;

  • Magnesium Citrate
    Form of magnesium supplement that easily get absorbed in our bodies. Every capsule contains large amount of citric acid bound with small amount of magnesium. It’s can also have a laxative effect.
  • Magnesium Oxide
    Contrary to magnesium citrate, it is a least absorbed molecule. But its capsules contains relatively larger amount of elemental magnesium and is prescribed to individuals with intermittent constipation, as it also has a laxative effect.
  • Magnesium Glycinate
    It is a gentle form of magnesium supplement. A non-essential amino acid Glycine is bound with magnesium to provide neuro-calming properties.
  • Magnesium Malate
    It is a composition of magnesium with malic acid and prescribed to those who suffer from fatigue and fibromyalgia.

Signs and symptoms of Magnesium deficiency

illustration of magnesium in a pill

Below stated are some of the alarming situations when you are in dire need to take magnesium supplements;

  • Muscle twitches
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Cramps
  • Hypertension
  • Hypomagnesemia
  • Asthma
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Mental disturbance
  • Insomnia
  • osteoporosis

How does it work in our bodies?

Below mentioned are few of its health benefits concerning the athlete’s body mechanism.

Maintain heartbeat
During athletic activities, Magnesium helps in maintain cardiac-respiratory functions. Magnesium vies with Calcium, when calcium enters your heart’s muscle cells, calcium stimulates the muscle fibers and send them a signal to contract, in response to this contraction, magnesium tends these muscles to relax. This competitive function of calcium and magnesium helps in maintaining heart rhythms.

Muscle contraction and relaxation
Calcium binds with proteins and creates muscle contraction; in response, magnesium competes with calcium to relax the muscles.

Bone integrity
Strong bones are very important for either athletes or any person. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, Magnesium can also play a vital role in improving bone health. It has been observed that magnesium deficiency may cause “Osteoporosis”. According to National Osteoporosis Foundation its supplement may prevent the risk of fractures.

Antioxidant
Recent studies have suggested that Magnesium plays a vital role as antioxidants in response to oxidative stress.

Anti-inflammatory
Recent studies revealed that magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties. Its supplementation can reduce inflammation in athletes and sportspersons

Final words of summary

I am Ansa Asad, a consultant Nutritionist. I hope this article have given you an understanding and awareness about an incredible nutrient. I have tried to write about Magnesium and its significance for sportive activity in an easy and comprehensible way. Though many researchers have made studies on the importance of magnesium in an athlete’s life, there is still room for further studies. Being a medical professional, I must say that there is much more to reveal yet about magnesium and its tremendous uses. With modern researches, magnesium’s status is even getting better. The all above stated uses and functions of magnesium are so beneficial for athletes and all other individuals, and long-term best possible intakes of magnesium have noteworthy health benefits for them.

The purpose of this article was to make you familiar with the health benefits and essential needs of magnesium for athletes. I would suggest you not to do self-medication or start using its supplements without advising a professional. Every person is unique in itself and their needs differ from one another, so it’s always better to consult your health instructor.

I wish you good luck with your fit and healthy present and future!

References

ERIC W. FINSTAD, IAN J. NEWHOUSE, HENRY C. LUKASKI, JIM E. MCAULIFFE, and CAMERON R. STEWART, article The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Exercise Performance. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12080585_The_Effects_of_Magnesium_Supplementation_on_Exercise_Performance

Bohl C.H., Volpe S.L. Magnesium and exercise. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2002;42:533–563. doi: 10.1080/20024091054247.
Article about magnesium fact sheet. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer.pdf