If lack of endurance is keeping you from achieving your workout goals, magnesium deficiency may be to blame. According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans do not get the recommended amount of magnesium in their diets. And athletes, especially, are more likely to be impaired by magnesium deficiency because sweat depletes the body’s supply of this vital electrolyte. Magnesium is a major mineral crucial to athletic performance as it helps regulate muscles, nerves, blood pressure and blood sugar. It helps you relax and recover after exercise and is essential to the promotion of healthy bones, protein and sleep.
Magnesium and Athletic Performance
Magnesium deficiency impairs endurance performance because it interferes with the oxygen needed to feed your muscles and blood. As magnesium levels decrease, the amount of oxygen needed to continue exercising increases. You will feel more out of breath and may experience muscle failure. Magnesium deficiency also impairs your body’s ability to maintain adequate levels of other electrolytes, such as potassium, which is needed for heart and kidney function. As it aids in the absorption of calcium and vitamin D, magnesium is also critical to development of strong bones.
Magnesium and Muscle Recovery
Too little magnesium in the body also impairs muscle recovery after exercise. Not only can it cause painful muscle cramps, but it can also interfere with your ability to relax and sleep. Magnesium has a calming effect on muscles, nerves and brain. Magnesium regulates melatonin, the hormone that guides your internal sleep clock. It also regulates neurotransmitters, so you can rest or “turn off” your brain at night. It’s no secret that sleep helps muscles recover because that overnight rest recharges your whole system. When you lack a good night’s sleep, you are more likely to struggle with speed, strength and coordination while putting your body at an increased risk of injury.
Preventing Magnesium Deficiency
A healthy body needs a diet full of magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, black beans, avocados, almonds and bananas. To fuel your workout with magnesium, supplements are ideal. Magnesium Glycinate chelate is one of the best-absorbed forms of magnesium, and it is gentle on the body, generally without the gastrointestinal side effects of other forms of magnesium, such as oxide, citrate and carbonate. It is so gentle on the stomach that it is recommended for bariatric surgery patients. Magnesium glycinate chelate is particularly beneficial for athletes with certain medical conditions. The supplement can strengthen bones in people with osteoporosis, lower blood pressure to a small degree in people with high blood pressure and reduce the frequency of attacks for those who suffer migraine headaches. When taking a magnesium supplement that also contains Zinc, check the label and consider a combination that uses a chelate form for like Zinc Picolinate. This form of Zinc binds the mineral to picolinic acid for maximum absorption in the bloodstream, and avoids to compete with Magnesium uptake. This way, you can ensure your body is able to absorb both Magnesium and Zinc.