Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, often added to other food products and also available as a dietary supplement. This element is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, and PH regulation.
Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.
Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, normal heart rhythm and ph regualtion.
All this considered it’s easy to understand how important magnesium is in sport performance and how vital is to keep an adequate daily intake.
Daily intake is important also because often magnesium is expelled by other elements that we might ingest.
Coffee, alcohol and all acidic foods (meat, dairy products, sugar) force the body to lose magnesium through the kidneys and can easily leave the human system with a deficit.
An adult body contains approximately 25 g magnesium, with 50% to 60% present in the bones and most of the rest in soft tissue. Intake recommendations for magnesium change during different life stages. In general, for an adult in good health, the daily intake should be around 400mg/day.
Great sources of magnesium are (per 100 grams):
basil (711mg), whole wheat (611mg), pumpking seeds (550mg), cocoa (499mg), sesame seeds (351mg), sun flower seeds (311mg), almonds (281mg) and more in general a lot vegetables and fruits.
All these sources are also fairly alkaline elements therefore will help us retain the precious minerals (including calcium and potassium amongst others) that we need to function in normal life and even more when performing .
The risks of a magnesium overdose are slim for various reasons:
1. Unused magnesium in our bodies is expelled by the kidneys
2. Our bodies generally start with a deficit of this element, therefore overdosing is unlikely
3. The first symtoms of an imbalance of magnesium or of a too high dosage is the feeling of indigestion ( intestinal peristalsis) that tends to resolve itself quickly but can then be used as a frame of reference to modulate the quantity of daily intake.
Magnesium is vital for pretty much all sports players especially for those who play in a difficult environment, such as extreme heat or high altitude and in all endurance sport.
Your sports coach or sports nutrition expert can help you finding the right balance with this mineral and all the other elements your body needs to perform at top levels.