Whether it’s dancing in front of the mirror or going for a run in your neighbourhood, getting your body moving can help you in many ways. In fact, being active is one of the most important parts of overall health because it not only releases mood-lifting hormones, it also helps to build strong bones, muscles, and cardiorespiratory fitness.
Now, what if we told you there’s one mineral that plays a key role in your physical performance and health? That mineral is magnesium, and it’s involved in over 800 enzymatic reactions within our bodies, acting as a cofactor or helper molecule in various biochemical processes that our bodies need to function properly.
Let’s dive into how magnesium can be useful in supporting your physical activity and boosting your energy levels.
Magnesium’s role in the body
Magnesium helps with energy metabolism
The mineral magnesium is a cofactor to many enzymes that create energy in the body. These enzymes form a series of pathways and are crucial to energy production. Some of these pathways include:
- Glycolysis – a process that breaks down glucose
- Kreb’s cycle – a process that uses fats and carbohydrates or glucose to produce acetyl coenzyme-A (a key helper molecule for energy production)
- Phosphorylation – a process where a phosphate group is added to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
In one way or another these biological reactions help convert organic compounds like glucose sugars into smaller molecules called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. And, it is ATP that acts as our main unit of cellular energy, providing us with the energy we need to carry out various actions, including exercise.
Around 53kg of ATP is used in our bodies every day. But, the typical adult-only stores about 50g of ATP in the body, so each ATP molecule is recycled over a thousand times daily! Since these pathways are magnesium-dependent, we need a good amount of magnesium on hand to fuel the continuous production of ATP.
Magnesium supports cardiovascular function
Magnesium regulates the activation of platelets, cells within our blood that form clots to prevent bleeding, by controlling calcium levels and maintaining cell receptors. With this activity, magnesium helps reduce the risk of blood clots, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as an anticoagulant. This supports cardiovascular function because clots can block blood flow to the brain or heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Besides its role in reducing the risk of blood clots, magnesium also acts as a natural vasodilator or blood vessel regulator. Magnesium, as a calcium antagonist, allows the heart muscles and the smooth muscles of the arteries to rest and relax, reducing blood pressure and increasing performance during exercise. If there is insufficient magnesium, these blood vessels constrict, raising blood pressure and reducing athletic performance.
Magnesium promotes muscle activity
Not having enough magnesium in your system has been shown to cause calcium within your body to stay in your muscles and nerve cells longer. This causes overexcitation of your muscles and nerves, leading to cramping, spasms, and other muscle-related issues.
Magnesium also helps to regulate muscle contraction and relaxation, which is very important during intense physical activities (such as running a marathon). This is because the contraction and relaxation of your muscles provide your joints and connective tissues with stability – your muscles lengthen and shorten as your body needs them, making it easier for you to keep running to the finish line.
What can magnesium deficiency look like for an athlete?
Studies show that those who engage in strenuous physical activity need more vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, to perform and recover optimally. Some symptoms to watch out for include:
- Lethargy or feeling sluggish
- Low energy
- Muscle twitches, spasms, and cramps
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Weak bones
Where to get your magnesium
If you’ve experienced these symptoms and feel that you may be low on magnesium, speak with your healthcare practitioner to help you determine if you have a magnesium deficiency. Some dietary sources that can help you boost your magnesium levels include:
- Dark leafy greens like spinach
- Peanut butter
- Nuts and seeds
That being said, it’s important to note that present-day foods tend to have less magnesium content. This is because modern farming practices can strip produce of their nutrients as a result of nutrient depletion in the soil that these foods are grown in. That’s why many people opt for supplementation as a more secure way of maintaining healthy levels of magnesium.
If you’re looking for a magnesium supplement that’s gentle on the bowels, this supplement offers a potent, therapeutic dose of 200mg of pure elemental magnesium in a form known for its superior absorption. It contains as much as 20% more elemental magnesium than other magnesium supplements and works to restore magnesium to optimum levels and help fuel all the important functions it is called on to perform.
Magnesium is one of those minerals that makes an appearance in so many biochemical processes within our bodies. It’s almost hard to keep track of how many important functions it helps out with! And that’s why making sure your magnesium levels are optimal is so vital. Don’t let low magnesium keep you from being as active as you’d like to be!