Magnesium to improve your fitness performance
– It is vital for your health and sports performance – yet the ‘forgotten mineral’.
Guest author – Dr. Britt Cordi
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for our health – and ensuring an adequate intake has never been easier. Yet studies show that most people regularly eat half of the daily recommended dose!
Very few people are aware of how vital magnesium is for overall health and performance and it has been singled out as the ‘forgotten mineral’ by health specialists.
Magnesium is involved in over 325 different biochemical reactions vital to health and performance.
It protects against heart disease and heart attacks, high blood pressure and stroke, type II diabetes and much, much more.
It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Contrary to popular misconceptions, it is magnesium that is actually most important in building strong bones and preventing bone loss.
When we get too low on oxygen, water or food, the consequences are serious. Yet, we often don`t realize the consequences of magnesium deficiency or imbalance, which are listed below:
- Low energy
- High Blood Pressure
- Muscle tension, craps, tremors
- Kidney stones
- Accelerated aging
- Depression and mood swings, irritability
- Muscle cramps (also in pregnant women)
- Spasms Irritability
Just how important is magnesium to athletes?
Well, new research suggests that even small defiencies in magnesium intake can inhibit athletic performance.
The UK’s Food Standards Agency estimates that the average daily intake of magnesium in Britain for both men and women is just 227mgs – only two thirds of the US recommended daily amount (RDA) and studies carried out in 1986/87 revealed that gymnasts, footballers and basketball players were consuming only around 70% of the RDA (1).
So What’s The Take-Home Message For Athletes?
First, it’s all too easy to go short of magnesium, especially if your diet is light on foods like whole grains and cereals, green leafy vegetables, pulses (peas/beans/lentils), nuts and seeds. One study of male athletes supplemented with 390mgs of magnesium per day for 25 days resulted in an increased peak oxygen uptake and total work output during work capacity tests (2).
So how do we get enough magnesium – and what is the right proportion?
One of the major benefits of getting your nutrients from a varied whole food diet is that you’re far less likely to end up with too much of one nutrient at the expense of others. Whole foods in general contain all the co-factors and needed co-nutrients in the proper amounts for optimal health and performance.
The easiest way to secure your daily intake of magnesium in the right proportions is through:
- Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, wheatgrass, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds.
For vegetables, the greener the colour the higher the magnesium content.
Outdoor grown Wheatgrass is exceptionally high in natural magnesium, as it is the darkest green you have ever seen. Wheatgrass Juice has been highly regarded for its nutritional properties for many years amongst health professionals and is known as the number One Superfood as it contains over 100 nutrients.
Wheatgrass Juice – the No 1 Superfood
1 oz wheatgrass juice contains:
- 5 times the amount of precious green chlorophyll than broccoli
- is equivalent to 1.5 lbs of broccoli in Vitamin E content!
- 530% RDA of B12 – that is almost as much as in shellfish and making it suitable for vegans and vegetarians
- 17 times more Vitamin B5 than banana
- J Am Diet Assoc;86: 251-3 (1986) and Nutr Res;7:27-34 (1987)
- Endocrinol Metab Clin N Am 22:377-395 (1993)
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