In the last post in this category of minerals, we had a look at calcium. Read it here to be updated for this blog post.
In this post, we are going to have a closer look at the athlete macro element magnesium and we are going to find answers to the question “What does Magnesium do for the Body?” – The Muscle
Why do athletes need so much Magnesium?
Magnesium is a macro element, which plays an important role in the production of protein and therefore in the process of muscle formation. Moreover, it works as a transmitter of nerve signals to the muscles, which lets relax them. Otherwise, your muscles would be contracted all the time, which would be painful and a waste of energy.
Magnesium supports the provision of energy in the cells so that the muscles get the power to do their work properly.
If you are a sports fanatic, it is advisable to have a specific look at your magnesium intake.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal, just like calcium. It too is mostly found, for example, in compounds like magnesium oxide, carbonate, silicate, chloride, sulfate or citrate.
Magnesium is alkaline, water-soluble and an essential macro element for us, as we have to get our amount through nutrition.
What is the demand of Magnesium?
Depending on the age, health and lifestyle the daily demand for an average and healthy adult for magnesium is at least
300 – 400 milligrams (mg) per day.
There are some factors, which let this demand rise. For example these are sports, stress, alcohol and pregnancy.
Where can you get Magnesium from (Top 5 foods)?
Here are the Top 5 foods, which are rich in Magnesium:
1. Sango coral (up to 12.000 mg/100g),
2. Cocoa (up to 550 mg/100g)
3. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds and flaxseed (up to 450 mg/100g)
4. Almonds and other nuts (up to 350 mg/100g)
5. Oat flakes and lentils (up to 150 mg/100ml)
Good other plant sources for magnesium are nettles and swiss chard (up to 100 mg/100g), spinach (up to 75 mg/100g) and bananas (up to 50 mg/ 100g).
Tip: Potassium promotes the resorption of magnesium in the gut, whereas food with high amounts of calcium, such as milk products, suppresses the resorption of magnesium.
What are the functions and benefits of Magnesium?
In addition to the three important functions of magnesium namely the production of protein, the transmission of nerve signals and the supply of energy in the cells, it also is a main part in our bones and teeth. 60 % of the magnesium in our body is found in the bones and in the teeth. Furthermore, magnesium ensures stable cell walls, the development of genes and the release of hormones and other messenger substances.
What deficiency symptoms of Magnesium exist?
A typical symptom of a light deficiency of magnesium is something we all may know, not only athletes. It is a calf cramp. Let it happen at night and you sit straight in your bed. Other symptoms caused by a lack of magnesium can be as followed:
- a headache or a lack of concentration
- fatigue and (muscle)weakness
- mental disorders
Tip: Take magnesium, just as calcium, in several small quantities, not one big dose at once. This will help to improve the resorption.
What overdose symptoms of Magnesium exist?
Surplus magnesium normally is excreted through the kidneys. An overdose of magnesium, which is more likely if your kidneys don´t work properly can cause the followed symptoms:
- disorders in the nerve system
- disorders in the function of the heart
- gastrointestinal complaints
What else may you have to consider about Magnesium?
The bigger the intake of magnesium is, the smaller the resorption of it is.
Magnesium and calcium work like counterparts. The one cannot be without the other, but there must not be too much of calcium if you like to resorb more magnesium. In fact, it is recommended to separate the intake of magnesium and calcium for some hours as both macro elements use the same canal to be transmitted from the gut into the blood. This is the case if you are willing to fix a lack of either magnesium or calcium. In your normal diet, a relation of 1 : 2 (magnesium : calcium) is ideal because it represents the relation in which these two macro elements are excreted.
To make it easy, you can say that there is a triangle interaction between magnesium, calcium and vitamin D. No one of them can be absorbed without the other. Actually, it is the magnesium, which activates vitamin D and which regulates the calcium resorption, what would not be possible without vitamin D.
As mentioned above, 60% of the magnesium is stored in the bones and 30% is stored in the muscles. In your blood about 40% of the magnesium is bound to proteins, where they participate in up to 300 enzyme reactions.
Magnesium makes up 0.02 % of your body weight.
There is mineral water, which contains high amounts of magnesium and other minerals. Look at the declaration. It is also called medicinal water.
Elementary magnesium was first isolated by the French chemist Antoine Bussy in 1828. In 1808 the English biochemist Sir Humphry Davy discovered this metal but was not able to isolate it.
The word magnesium is originated from the old greek word “lodestone” or “magnet stone”.
Magnesium is a very important essential macro element for our body, as it is, together with calcium, responsible for stable bones and teeth. Furthermore, magnesium is indispensable in nerve transmission and the protein production.
Now you have some useful information about magnesium and calcium at hand about how much you need, where you can get it and what else is important to observe your magnesium level. This will be even more important to you if you are a sports enthusiastic.
In the next blog posts, we will have a closer look at the other essential macro elements.
Now to you. Was something new or interesting here for you or do you want to tell us something? Let us know in the comments.