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Why your performance may be suffering from a lack of magnesium

Posted by Field Work Nutrition Co. on
Why your performance may be suffering from a lack of magnesium

Electrolytes.  We hear about them all the time.  Made famous by Gatorade, and made better by just about everyone else, we all know that electrolytes are important to help hydration and help athletic performance by doing things like helping to prevent muscle cramping and helping to support proper muscle function.  

A villain in the normal world, when it comes to electrolytes, cramping, and hydration, sodium tends to reign supreme.  But although sodium may be critically important while working out, there are other electrolytes that are just as important for athletes and anyone living an active lifestyle, one of which is magnesium.  

On the most basic level, magnesium is an essential mineral that we must have in our diets for the proper functioning of the body.  Period.  It is involved in over 300 known chemical reactions in the body, including muscle contraction and relaxation, cardiac activity, immunity, blood pressure regulation, and basic metabolism and energy production, to name a few.  

For athletes, or anyone exercising at an above average to strenuous level, magnesium becomes even more important.  It is directly involved in ATP production, one of the body's primary mechanisms for producing energy.  A deficiency in magnesium present can be a limiting factor in ATP production, thus limiting the amount work work that can be done, and potentially leading to fatigue and overall reduced performance.  No bueno.  

Magnesium may also play a role in limiting lactic acid accumulation, and for the training athlete, lactic acid accumulation is directly correlated to performance limitations, so limiting build up while exercising can have a positive effect on performance.  Due to the relaxing effect magnesium has on the nervous system, it may also help reduce perceived effort while working particularly hard.  Even if this effect does not actually help improve performance, anyone who has ever spent time in the pain cave or hurt locker will surely welcome any help they can get - perceived or actual!

There are plenty of foods that are rich in magnesium, like certain leafy green vegetables and pumpkin seeds.  As is our approach with many things, we all know that reality often steps in and inhibits even our best intentions, throwing off our dietary plans and sending us to the cupboard grabbing things we probably shouldn't.  This is why we have included magnesium in our Primo Smoothie - helping you get an adequate serving daily.  If you feel you may need a little extra, throw a few pumpkin seeds in your mix, or a small handful of leafy green vegetables.  

As always, eat well, and we'll see you out there.

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