There are several key minerals that are considered essential nutrition for athletes to maximize their training and performance output. Magnesium (Mg) is firmly in this group. So, can magnesium improve athletic performance – what does the research and data say?
What Will I Learn
Just How Essential is Magnesium?
In this article we reveal 6 ways in that Magnesium plays a key role in all aspects of our health and fitness.
We also explain why its imperative to get the correct amounts of this key nutrient.
If you are a keen athlete or gym goer, this is one article that you need to read
Most of us are aware of the importance of getting the right amount of compounds like calcium in our diet, but not so many of us are aware just how important nutrients like Magnesium are to our health and well being.
In addition to this, Magnesium also plays a crucial role in boosting our athletic perforce and body composition too.
So, Does Magnesium Improve Athletic Performance?
Magnesium (mg) is one of life essential nutrients.
It plays many key roles in our body.
It is actually classed as a co-factor due to its involvement in hundreds enzymatic reactions.
These include those that control and regulate bone and heart health, along with muscle and brain actions.
After potassium it is the second most abundant mineral in our body, we store the majority of it in our muscle and bone tissues.
From an athletic point of view, magnesium helps to produce and regulate levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
This is the main source of cellular energy in the human body.
The more ATP you have, the better your energy reserves and the longer you can perform without experiencing fatigue.
Magnesium also helps to regulate heart rhythm, muscular contractions and encourage a feeling of calmness.
Low levels of magnesium are associated with stress and irritability.
Recommended doses of magnesium do vary from country to country.
In the UK for example the recommended daily amount is set at 300mg per day.
In the US however this amount has been increased to between 400 ad 420mg per day.
Athletes appear to be the most at risk of being deficient in Magnesium.
One study reported that on average athletes were only getting 70% of what they need, and those involved in runners just 59%.
This study concluded that of all people, athletes seemed to benefit more from supplementing with his mineral than almost any other person.
Magnesium really does improve athletic performance!
Here Are 6 Ways That Magnesium Can Improve Athletic Performance
1. It Increases Recovery
Magnesium is key to the recovery and growth of your body after exercise, one of the most important factors in this is getting enough sleep.
Not getting enough sleep will reduce athletic performance, especially in those who just get around 4 hours per night.
A lack of sleep will reduce testosterone production by up to 15%
On the flip side, low levels of magnesium have been found to trigger a bodily response that is similar to that experienced when given epinephrine.
Increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and irritability have all been proven to be the results of reduced magnesium.
Insomnia is a side effect of reduced magnesium levels.
Poor levels and short sleep cycles can also help increase production of the stress hormone cortisol.
This is known to be extremely detrimental not just to health in general, but also to the production of certain hormones, in particular testosterone.
Added to that it can also cause the appearance of extra belly fat, and can reduce your bone and heart health in the long term.
2. Boosts Strength
The key to being strong is the ability to have good muscle quality and to use them in the right way.
Magnesium is linked to a process known as muscle protein synthesis (MPS).
The more protein cells we have in our muscles, the larger and stronger that they can become.
The higher the levels of Magnesium in our body, the greater the level of MPS.
Muscle tissue is a storage facility for a large percentage of our magnesium, so it goes without saying that the more muscle mass we have, the more of it we can store.
Studies have found that MG supplementation increases quadriceps strength when undergoing strength training 3 times a week.
Using the term Muscle Torque, the researchers told us that it increased significantly when compared to those who trained without taking magnesium.
Magnesium is also a key precursor to the release of IGF-1 which plays a key role in the manufacture of MPS.
Low levels of magnesium have been linked to increased levels of structural damage to muscle cells.
In athletes, magnesium deficiency can cause a reduction in IGF-1 of up to 60% [source]
4. Magnesium Boosts Testosterone
The importance of testosterone is without doubt.
It is responsible for our muscle mass, energy, levels of body fat and sex drive.
It also helps guard against certain illnesses.
Maintaining a healthy level of magnesium is essential to the optimum hormone production.
It plays an important part as it supports lipid metabolism.
This is particularly essential for athletes as all steroid hormones are created from cholesterol.
Studies have proven that taking it in supplement form boost testosterone levels significantly when taken for periods of 4 weeks and over. [source]
4. Reduces Body Fat
Any athlete knows that making the best of your body composition is absolutely crucial.
Too much body fat can reduce strength and performance.
It can leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued.
Magnesium is important for its role in insulin sensitivity.
This controls the ability to metabolise carbs in your diet, helping to control blood sugar levels
These can lead to various metabolic diseases including diabetes, hypertension and increased cholesterol.
A major study showed that taking dairy foods containing 150mg of magnesium helped a number of test subjects lose 2kg over the test period.
It was found that magnesium was a contributing factor.
6. Increases Power
All athletes need power, to win, they need to be the fastest or strongest.
Studies have shown that reduced magnesium can reduce your ability to generate force.
A trial involving 1400 subjects showed that higher levels of magnesium were linked to improved muscle performance.
This can include grip strength, knee extension, ankle strength, jumping and running – all crucial movements for athletes.
Their ability to perform squat jumps, counter movement jump, peak torque and total work increased significantly.
In vertical jump tests, these trained athletes saw jump height increases of up to 3cm.
6. Enhances Endurance
Magnesium deficiency can reduce oxygen flow to the muscles.
This brings them to the point of failure much earlier, reducing overall performance.
It basically reduces the way your body uses oxygen.
It also effects the way that our heart pumps blood.
With reduced blood flow our endurance is not as good as it should be.
One study that looked into this effect involved athletes that were given 390mg of MG per day over a 25 day period.
Their peak oxygen use and overall work output were measured and significant gains were reported.
A further study showed that 800mg per day provided a massive increase in endurance and a reduction in relative oxygen consumption.
It also reduced feelings of stress during intense workouts.
To Sum Up How Magnesium Improves Athletic Performance
Numerous studies have emphasised the importance of maintaining optimum magnesium levels in your body.
A good natural T-booster should always contain it (look for the citrate form for best results) .
This when taken alongside other proven ingredients that optimise hormone production, will ensure peak health and performance.