Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral involved in hundreds of processes that affect the human body. Some of these include cellular metabolism and neuromuscular function.
Because of its role in muscular function, i.e. energy metabolism and the maintenance of muscle contraction and relaxation, the relationship between magnesium and exercise has been studied extensively. Studies have shown that magnesium status can improve exercise performance related to grip strength, lower-leg power, extension, flexion, rotation, and jumping. Magnesium deficiency, on the other hand, impairs endurance performance.
How magnesium works when you exercise
When you exercise, your body responds by distributing magnesium to areas of the body, i.e. the muscles, according to its metabolic needs. Magnesium fluxes occur during and after exercise as magnesium moves from the plasma in the blood, into fat cells (adipocytes) and skeletal muscle. The extent of the transfer of extracellular magnesium into their new locations depends on the level of aerobic energy produced and used.
Immediately after aerobic exercise, magnesium is redistributed once again, this time from the tissues to the blood. Magnesium moves from bone, as well as soft tissues, muscle and fat (adipose) tissue, to restore magnesium in the plasma to its pre-exercise concentrations. The amount of magnesium released from skeletal muscle, though, depends on the degree of muscle damage, which in turn, is determined by the intensity and the duration of the exercise. The nutrient is also lost through sweat and urine.
With this critical role in energy metabolism, the more active you are, the more magnesium you need in order maintain optimal exercise performance. Short-term, highintensity exercise briefly affects magnesium levels before returning to normal, while endurance exercise, such as marathon running, will see a decrease in magnesium that will usually return to normal within a day, with adequate dietary intake. For those who do regular, strenuous exercise, you may have to increase your magnesium uptake by 10 – 20%.
If you do weight-class or body-conscious sports, such as wrestling, ballet, gymnastics, or tennis, ensure that you are eating enough magnesium-rich foods, as athletes in these sports reportedly consume inadequate dietary magnesium. Female athletes, in particular, are susceptible to low levels of calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium, but this is often due to energy restriction or avoidance of animal products.
How to use magnesium for muscle recovery
The best way to recover from exercise is to give your muscles enough time to rest between exercise sessions and ensure that you have sufficient nutrients in your body. While there are signs and symptoms of low magnesium, only blood tests can reveal low magnesium levels.
Once found that magnesium levels are low, you can increase your magnesium intake with:
• Magnesium-rich foods (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and whole grains)
• Magnesium supplements [Shop now]
• Topical application in the form of sprays or balms which you can apply directly to the muscle cramp.
In addition, magnesium also aids muscle function and recovery by its support of vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels can cause muscle weakness and pain. If these low levels remain, muscle mass can decline, along with exercise performance.
When choosing your supplement, always check if there is a full list of ingredients on the product, a package insert, a valid company address with contact details and compliance to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which is a prerequisite for health product manufacturing.
Plasma is the largest component of your blood. Its main role is to take nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the body, and to remove the waste that cells produce.