Athletes need higher doses of magnesium!

High doses of magnesium are necessary for athletes, promoting sport performance! Above all, magnesium is important for energy metabolism, and for preventing muscle contractions and cramps.

What’s the recommended daily intake of magnesium?

Actually, magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. Magnesium is an essential mineral. We have to get it from food. The human body can’t synthesize it.

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 310-360 mg for women and 400-420 mg for men.[1] But, most adults fail to consume the recommended daily dose. For instance, 60% of adults in the United States don’t consume enough magnesium.

Certainly, magnesium deficiency can impair sport performance. Athletes should be extra careful about their daily magnesium intake.

What does magnesium do to the body?

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions in the body. For instance, magnesium helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, immune system, and strong bones. Additionally, magnesium promotes calcium absorption and normal blood glucose levels.[2]

Above all, high doses of magnesium may be beneficial for athletes, as it plays a key role in energy production and normal muscle function! Magnesium enhances blood flow and provides muscles with energy. A steady energy supply is vital for increased sport performance.

Moreover, high levels of magnesium can significantly decrease systolic blood pressure at rest and during recovery from exercise. Both for aerobic and resistance exercise. Additionally, magnesium supplements seem to decrease lactate production and help athletes jump higher!

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Moreover, supplement manufacturers claim that magnesium supplements can improve athletic performance because the lactate will be used for energy. Further scientific research is needed though.

On the contrary, magnesium deficiency is dangerous for athletes, as it can cause muscle contractions and cramps! Also, magnesium deficiency may lead to inflammations, increased muscle recovery time, and eventually decreased athletic performance.

Most noteworthy, young athletes should be extra careful about their daily magnesium intake, as magnesium deficiency can lead to weak bones. Magnesium is necessary for calcium absorption.

How much magnesium should an athlete take daily?

The recommended daily intake is 400-420 mg for adult men and 310-320 mg for adult women. But, should athletes take higher doses for better sport performance?

Intense exercise increases magnesium losses. It is estimated that exercise may increase magnesium requirements by 10-20%.[3] Therefore, adult male athletes may need a daily magnesium dose up to 500 mg and female athletes up to 380 mg. Only in extreme conditions, athletes may need higher doses.

Athletes who follow extreme diets for weight loss should be careful about their magnesium intake. They’re more vulnerable to magnesium deficiency!

Above all, athletes should be properly hydrated. Hydration is vital for both exercise performance and magnesium status!

Do athletes need magnesium supplements?

Athletes with magnesium deficiency may benefit from magnesium supplements. On the contrary, athletes with high levels of magnesium won’t benefit from taking extra magnesium from supplements. Higher doses won’t enhance physical performance.

Food is the best source of magnesium. You can’t get too much magnesium from food. On the other hand, high doses of magnesium from supplements may cause side effects. Athletes shouldn’t take more than 350 mg of magnesium from supplements per day. This is the upper tolerable dose. Higher doses may cause adverse effects, such as diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramping.

If you need magnesium, you better prefer chelated supplements. They’re more easily absorbed by the body.

As a rule of thumb, consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Common signs of magnesium deficiency are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions, cramps, seizures, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Foods rich in magnesium for athletes!

Actually, there are many foods rich in magnesium. Athletes can get adequate amounts of magnesium from their diet. Seeds and nuts are among the best dietary sources!

magnesium (mg)magnesium (mg)
pumpkin seeds 550spinach79
chia seeds392kale47
sesame seeds346wheat bread41
almonds279barley bread41
cashews260rice, brown, cooked39
black beans171avocado29
kidney beans138potatoes, boiled24
sunflower seeds129Brussels sprouts23
Foods with magnesium.

Besides magnesium, athletes should benefit from getting high doses of zinc, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin D.