In the past few posts, we’ve explored why magnesium is vital for fitness. First, we talked about energy, and how magnesium is involved in the production of energy in every cell of our bodies. Next, we talked about lactic acid buildup and how magnesium prevents muscle pain. Today, we’re delving into the topic of magnesium requirements and exercise.
No two people have the same magnesium requirements. Body size, age, lifestyle, stress, injury and illness are factors – as is exercise. Here’s why:
- Exercise is a form of stress – albeit a healthy form – and as such, exercise speeds up our magnesium burn rate. The effort involved in muscle contraction, respiration, and energy production places a big demand on our magnesium stores.
- When we exercise, we literally sweat out magnesium. It’s important to remember that magnesium is a water soluble mineral. Even without sweat, we excrete magnesium daily. Add a good workout and you begin to leech magnesium through your pores.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
By some estimates, strenuous exercise may increase magnesium requirements by 10-20% (US Department of Agriculture). If your RDA for magnesium is 400 mg/day before exercise, you may need closer to 500 mg if you workout.
“Twenty years of research shows that under ideal conditions approximately 300 mg of magnesium is required merely to offset the daily losses. If you are under mild to moderate stress caused by a physical or psychological disease, physical injury, athletic exertion, or emotional upheaval, your requirements for magnesium escalate.” (The Magnesium Miracle, Kindle version page 4167)
Determine your own magnesium sweet spot by looking at symptoms – you can find the full list on our post, here.
WATCH OUT FOR MAGNESIUM LEECHES
The good news is, you don’t need to cut back on exercise to get your magnesium in balance. Instead, cut back on the harmful lifestyle factors that leech magnesium: too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol, meat and dairy.
Worried you won’t be able to workout without stimulants and protein loading? You don’t need to.
If you correct a magnesium deficiency, your body will become more efficient at producing energy, metabolising carbohydrates and proteins.
And it goes without saying, stay away from diuretics. Combined with exercise, diuretics can be dangerous because they increase your rate of magnesium loss – just when you need it most.
GET MORE FROM DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS
Of course, cutting back on magnesium ‘leeches’ is not enough. You’ll also need to boost your intake of magnesium-rich nuts, grains and seeds.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t able to meet our magnesium requirements through diet alone. “An average good diet may supply about 120 mg of magnesium per 1,000 calories, for an estimated daily intake of about 250 mg.” (The Magnesium Miracle, Kindle version page 4167) Our poor soils are to blame.
That’s why Natural Calm makes such a difference even for people who are eating a healthy diet. Try it for yourself, and stay tuned for our next post on the extreme side of magnesium deficiency in athletics: sudden cardiac death.
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. The Magnesium Miracle (Revised and Updated)
US Department of Agriculture https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17172008
For more on why endurance athletes and the very active are coming up short on magnesium, see this excellent article: Why Endurance Athletes Need Magnesium