I discovered the value of magnesium a few years ago when one of my experienced swimming friends suggested that I take it for cramps that I was experiencing in my calf muscles towards the latter part of my swim training sessions. I went and bought some magnesium tables … and, yes! They actually seemed to work.
While I don’t swallow vitamin supplements religiously, I tend to take magnesium tablets when my training load is getting quite high, especially when I am increasing my distances or combining morning and evening workouts in the same day. I will take my magnesium tablet at night and, more recently, I have taken an extra tablet in the morning before a big race, as a ‘top up’. This has seen me racing better then ever, and I have found myself unaffected by leg cramps that can sometimes bother me in the closing stages of an endurance event.
More information is emerging in the literature on the value of magnesium supplements for athletes. Among its many assets, magnesium plays an important role in a number of biochemical reactions in the body that influence muscle and nerve function and protein synthesis. Magnesium is widely regarded to have a positive impact on heart health.
Magnesium plays an important role in optimising athletic performance. Yet, with so many supplement options in the market place, how do you decide which type of magnesium supplement is right for you? How much magnesium, and how often? Did you know that a high protein diet may enhance the need for magnesium, which is required for the synthesis of gastrointestinal enzymes and the breakdown of proteins in the body?
Here is an informative and easy-to-read article on magnesium supplementation for athletes: Best Magnesium Supplement for Optimal Athletic Performance
Of course, magnesium rich foods are your best source of magnesium – beans and nuts, whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread, and green, leafy vegetables. As only 20-50% of the magnesium we ingest is absorbed by our digestive systems and given that athletes have higher nutritional demands, magnesium supplementation is reasonable practice for athletes.
When deciding on whether or not to take a vitamin or mineral supplement, you will need to consider your own health circumstances and individual requirements for supplementation. You should take into account any other medications or supplements you may be consuming, to avoid interactions that may lead to unwanted side effects or otherwise impact the desired effect of your vitamin/mineral supplement. If you have an existing medical condition or are taking prescription medicine, it is smart to include a conversation with your treating doctor before taking over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplements.
Posted by Kara Gilbert @ KMG Communications
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