It’s a little-known fact that magnesium – considered the sleep mineral and the anti-stress mineral – is actually essential for energy production. “One of the most amazing effects of magnesium on the neuromuscular system is that it provides more energy, even though the mineral generally acts as a relaxant and not a stimulant.” (Dr. Carolyn Dean, The Magnesium Miracle, p. 71)
Magnesium Creates Energy in the Cells
Cells draw on energy packets called ATP (adenoside triphosphate). The ATP required at the cellular level for physical activity depends on enzymes called ATPases. During strenuous activity, these magnesium-dependent enzymatic processes rely heavily on an extraordinarily fast-paced rate of ATP turnover. This is only possible when sufficient magnesium levels are present in the body. In fact, ATP must be bound to magnesium in order to be biologically available to the muscle.
Sometimes described as the furnace of the cells, the energy-producing ATP needs magnesium to do the job it needs to do well. Without sufficient magnesium, energy production declines, energy levels fall and you start to feel fatigued.
According to Dr. Dean, “Some of the first studies showing the relationship between magnesium and physical exercise were done on animals and found that decreased exercise capacity can be an early sign of magnesium deficiency. When the animals were given magnesium dissolved in water, their endurance was restored. Most human studies also confirm that both brief and extended exercise depletes magnesium.” (p. 70)
Magnesium, Energy and Exercise Performance
In a very tightly controlled, three-month study in the U.S., the effects of magnesium depletion on exercise performance in 10 women was observed. In months 1 and 3, the women received a magnesium-deficient diet of 112mgs per day, and a magnesium supplement of 200mgs per day to reach the Recommended Dietary Allowance per day. In month 2, the supplement was withdrawn to intentionally result in a magnesium-deficient diet.
At the end of each month, the women were asked to cycle at increasing intensity until they reached 80% of their maximum heart rate, at which time they were subjected to a battery of tests.
The results clearly established that when magnesium was deficient, metabolic efficiency was reduced as both heart rate and oxygen intake increased, in essence making the body work much harder to perform the same task.
Source: J Nutr 132:930-935 (2002)