Magnesium

Magnesium is vital for every cell in your body, and is essential for over 300 major metabolic functions, including muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve function and cardiac activity, blood pressure regulation, bone health and synthesis of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the body.

Magnesium is also crucial for energy metabolism. It is needed to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), where ATP works much in the same way that petrol fuels a car, providing energy for action across all cells in our body. Without magnesium, we could not produce energy and our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction. As a result, magnesium is extremely beneficial when energy turnover is high, for example, in athletes and physically active people. A magnesium deficiency limits energy production, leading to fatigue, lethargy, reduced muscle strength, muscle twitches and cramps. Magnesium deficiency is far more prevalent in active people because it is lost through excessive sweating, increasing the body’s demand for magnesium supplementation.

Magnesium might also assist performance by reducing the accumulation of lactic acid and reducing the recovery period from strenuous exercise. Low levels of magnesium can result in a build-up of lactic acid, which may increase pain and tightness in muscles. Magnesium deficiency is very common. Long-term magnesium deficiencies may result in more serious issues such as reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of osteoporosis, as well as irregular heart rate and increased blood pressure.

Magnesium is not produced by the body so it needs to be taken daily by consuming plenty of magnesium-rich foods such as whole grain cereals, leafy greens, nuts and seeds. However, if you are utilising your body’s stores of magnesium, supplementation is beneficial to restore optimal levels. This is most likely due to poor eating habits with overly-processed, highly-refined foods, all of which are poor sources magnesium.