How To Maximize Athletic Performance With Minerals: Magnesium Edition
By Brian Bishop
Are you feeling exhausted or getting unusual muscle cramps during workouts? Have you eaten enough but still find that you lack the energy to move the way you want to?
It could have something to do with magnesium.
What Is Magnesium & Why Is It Important?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body needs in large amounts in order to produce energy. It participates in over 300 bio-chemical reactions on a cellular level, and its primary role is to balance the body’s ability to function properly by acting as enzyme co-factors (agents that allow enzymes to do their job better). One of magnesium’s vital roles is in the chemical reactions that generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the fundamental unit of energy inside our cells.
The organelle in each cell responsible for producing ATP are the mitochondria, which are small power generators that convert oxygen into ATP. A key benefit of magnesium is its ability to help produce more mitochondria during exercise, which ultimately means more ATP and more sustained energy.
There are two ways to become a high performing athlete:
1. Increase the total number of mitochondria
2. Increase the efficiencies of the mitochondria
More magnesium in our diets can set off a chain reaction by increasing mitochondrion in the cells, which facilitates the creation of more ATP, which we experience as stamina, endurance and strength.
How Does Magnesium Help Improve Performance?
To increase exercise performance, cells must be able to consume more oxygen. This is known as ‘oxidative capacity’ and is the ability to breakdown oxygen in your muscle cells via the mitochondria, which we now know is crucial in the development of ATP, which is essentially our biochemical way of storing and using energy in our muscles. This means that to be an efficient athlete, we must produce more ATP than we are consuming. Otherwise we will feel muscle fatigue, tiredness and may even experience muscle cramps.
How To Maximize Both Magnesium & Mitochondria
Studies have shown that exercises like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can increase the development of new mitochondria. This is done by cloning the cells via enzymes that require magnesium as a cofactor. Low magnesium levels reduces our ability to make new mitochondria and thus our ability to maximize exercise performance diminishes.
Here are daily optimal magnesium intakes for women and men:
- Women – 310 mg
- Men – 420 mg
Try out these sources for incorporating more magnesium into your diet:
- Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens.
- Fruits like avocado, banana and figs
- Nuts like sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, and cashews
- Dark chocolate
About The Author:
Brian Bishop is a true health and nutrition enthusiast. He loves to read, watch and listen to anything about health. He is the best nootropics guide as he is always experimenting on himself for best results. Brian wants to share his knowledge so others can enjoy the benefits.