Magnesium has been very popular for many years, when it comes to preventing cramps, especially among athletes.
But can the mineral really help to save you from those annoying muscle cramps, or can it even do a lot more?
Magnesium is involved in over 300 different metabolic processes. Among other things, it contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses, is involved in building bones and in protein synthesis in the muscles. It is also partly responsible for muscle contraction and the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body, called glycolysis.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient, i.e. the body cannot produce it itself. So it has to be ingested through food or dietary supplements.
But do or can we even manage to get enough magnesium through our food?
What’s the dosage
According to the EU’s Recommended Daily Allowance, an adult should consume between 300 and 400 mg of magnesium per day. Studies show that this is the absolute minimum, since it will probably only suffice to cover the body’s daily needs, but will leave no excess for repair and healing. Additionally, many people in Europe do not even reach that minimum intake.
With processed foods being used a lot these days and people having a stressful lifestyle, there are more and more people suffering from magnesium deficiency. Athletes who have an increased magnesium loss through sweat are particularly at risk.
Symptoms for this include cramps in the calves during the night, muscle cramps in general, muscle twitching, and tingling or numbness in the fingers and feet. Fatigue, tension headaches, restlessness and sleep disorders can also be signs that a deficiency is present.
If you suffer from one of the symptoms, it would be advisable to include foods containing magnesium in your diet or to compensate for the deficit with the help of magnesium supplements.
Foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, oatmeal, and rice (unpolished) are high in magnesium but also contain anti-nutrients.
How do you take it
Magnesium is available as a dietary supplement in many forms and compounds. They differ in their bioavailability and are metabolized in the body in different ways.
Most commonly found are magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium malate.
Magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate, which are usually available as an effervescent tablet, are only poorly absorbed by the body.
For most people, amino acid bound magnesium citrate (or bisglycinate) should be a good choice. Since this compound is also found naturally in food, it is very well absorbed.
It should be noted that taking calcium or dairy products at the same time can hinder absorption. Therefore, Magnesium should be taken with Calcium in the optimal ratio 1:2.
Long-term overdose can lead to nausea, diarrhea and sluggishness.
In conclusion, it can be said that magnesium can do a lot more than just protect us from cramps. It is a mineral that we should pay a lot of attention to!