For how little the mineral magnesium is discussed, you might think it’s not that important to our health. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when it comes to athletic performance.
Once you start to understand the important role of magnesium as it relates to overall mood, cognitive function, and basic metabolic functions of the body, you’ll want to ensure your diet contains the right amount and types of magnesium.
*Kill Cliff IGNITE contains 10% of your daily value of magnesium, surpassing that of other leading pre-workout/energy drinks.
Athletes and Muscle Cramps
If you search online or talk to anyone in the sport nutrition industry for an answer as to why we experience muscle cramps, and more importantly how to prevent them, you likely came back with more questions than answers. This is because little to nothing is known about muscle cramps.
Most of the research and general knowledge stems from the thought that muscle cramps are due to a fluid imbalance or electrolyte imbalance involving sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In my opinion, muscle cramps may be a sign of a magnesium deficiency in the diet rather than calcium, potassium, or sodium, which are easier to find and consume in a general diet.
Magnesium plays an important role in stabilizing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source for muscle contraction, and also serves as an electrolyte in body fluids. Muscle weakness, muscle twitching, and muscle cramps have been related and shown to be common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is just one aspect of maintaining proper electrolyte balance that is needed in the prevention of muscle cramps. Another important factor is fluid balance. Have any questions about how to calculate your own sweat rate? Check out this blog.
Yes, I said sleep “performance.” We need to start thinking about sleep as another key factor in overall performance, especially when it comes to athletes and those weekend warrior types.
The role in sleep comes from magnesium’s ability to suppresses cortisol levels and allow a person to return to a “relaxed” state sooner after a period of fight or flight response. This flight or fight response is what we would call a training session or game. Since magnesium is an essential electrolyte and mineral, it improves the electrical activity in the brain, improving memory and retention. It also has the capacity to keep the synapses open and firing more easily, with minimal interference.
This means you can think quicker on your feet, focus better and even improve your overall intelligence and cognitive abilities by increasing your body’s stores of magnesium. All of these are traits that can help our athletes perform to the best of their abilities.
Why is magnesium so important in sleep performance? Magnesium acts as a relaxant to the nervous system and helps alleviate the effects of cortisol, the “stress” hormone that is commonly released during a training session. It also acts as a muscle relaxant. This is why Epsom salts, which are magnesium sulfate, are used by athletes to soothe sore muscles and by people with afflictions such as arthritis and other painful joint and muscle issues.