A lot of attention goes to calories, carbs, fats and protein. Which is great because they are the building blocks of learning about a well rounded diet, unfortunately many of us don’t realize that our veggies are no longer serving us as well as they used to thanks to soil depletion.
Nutrition Journal researchers in Taiwan surveyed 210 people for body composition, magnesium intake, inflammatory status and blood pressure. 90% of the subjects were low in magnesium which was shown to correlate with higher body fat and larger waist circumference!
For everyone who was low, when they increased magnesium, their body fat began to drop.
This is such an EASY and small change which could reap big rewards for your total health. Don’t just take my word for it though, let’s dig in to what you really need to know about magnesium for athletes.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
Let’s not all run out and start pounding yet another supplement! First take a look at how much you need, some common food sources and then check the symptoms to see if you might be low.
Unfortunately this is one that doesn’t show up well is most blood tests because it’s housed in your bones and muscles, so looking at your foods and how you feel is a better way to gauge your need.
5mg of magnesium per 2.2lbs of body weight.
i.e. a 150 lb person would need 340 mg per day
Needs increase after age 30, especially for women, due to bone loss.
Athletes may need 10-20% more (500-800mg appears to be safe)
No benefit has been proven to OVER doing it with magnesium. Ensure you are getting enough and you’re solid.
Why it’s harder to get?
- Refined oils in most packaged foods remove all magnesium
- Refined grains/sugars remove 80-97% of magnesium
- Soil depletion isn’t giving our food as many nutrients
- Fertilizers diminish mineral absorption
- Drinking lots of water (kidneys are where it’s filtered out)
Food Sources of Magnesium
Following are some good sources of foods sources high in magnesium and an example of how much they might have. This changes per food, but overall it will help you see what it takes to reach your target amount.
Dark leafy greens
spinach, kale, collard greens – 1 cup cooked – 157mg, raw 24mg
pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed – 1 ounce – 150mg
mackerel, wild salmon, halibut, tuna – 3 ounces – 82mg
soybeans, black beans, kidney beans – 1 cup cooked – 148mg
Brown rice, oatmeal – 1 cup cooked – 86mg
Avocado – 1/2 cup – 33mg
Broccoli – 1/2 cup cooked – 51mg
Bananas – 1 medium – 32mg
Dark chocolate – 1 large square – 95mg
Non-Fat Yogurt – 1 cup – 47mg
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
A 2006 study showed that over half of adults were getting less than 50% of the recommended amount of magnesium. Athletes are pushing our bodies harder every day making it more important that we stay on top of our nutrient needs.
If these signs sound familiar, maybe it’s time to try upping your intake (I know they hit home for me!):
A lack of magnesium can cause your sympathetic nervous system to be overactive, resulting in excess cortisol and of course a racing mind, which leads to the next point.
Because magnesium is calming, it helps to ensure a better night of sleep. Another study showed specifically that a lack of magnesium results in brain activity during the night that results in waking frequently.
Right so basically everything dealing with your brain working properly to focus on the task at head and not result in a pounding headache is related to magnesium!
Muscle Cramps/Abdominal Pain
A few years ago I was having muscle cramps to an extreme…like nightly until I ended up in the ER!! I started drinking an enhanced water shortly there after and they went away. I knew I wasn’t dehydrated from all my blood test my minerals were good…now I know that the water had MAGNESIUM!!
Impaired Exercise Performance
A 2006 study proved that even a slight deficiency impairs performance, which is amplified by sweat loss and increases requirements by 10-20%. This is caused by an increase in the amount of oxygen needed to produce energy (ATP).
It may also reduce the build up of lactic acid and even the perception of fatigue!
As noted at the top, there is also significant research now to show it can help with fat loss. Which makes sense if it helps you sleep, reduces cortisol and allows you to perform better!
Chocolate cravings are also a sign of deficiency! WAVING HAND like crazy.Sluggish? Anxious? Muscle fatigue? The one mineral you might be missing! #runchat Click To Tweet
Magnesium Supplement Options
As with any supplement, more is not better. Find one that works for you, check with a doctor if you have any questions. I don’t play a doctor on TV and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night, I’m merely imparting the results of my research. And as always, PLEASE look for a quality supplement.
We know that things absorb quickest through the skin, so this is certainly one option. There are a number of oils, creams or even epsom bath salts if you like to soak after a long run like me! This bypasses forcing your digestive system to do any of the work.
I prefer this one from Ancient Minerals for an oil because it’s high quality, no weird metals or toxins in there.
I love this drink! I have a little a few nights a week and it definitely helps me sleep better, but beware it also has an effect on the bowels! It’s going to clean you out, so start with half the recommended does and definitely try it at night. It will help you sleep and wake up to eh hem GO before your run.
Note: Natural Vitality CALM is made from magnesium chloride which is considered the most bioavailable and also the cheapest form. Epsom salt is a different form which is less bioavailable.
If you want to go with a pill, look for chelated magnesium.
Have you ever checked your magnesium levels?
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