What is the function of magnesium?

Magnesium is a well-known and essential substance that the body needs for all kinds of important processes. With a (long-term) shortage of magnesium in the body, various complaints will occur, which are especially noticeable during sporting activities. It is therefore important to prevent a magnesium deficiency, and to get enough magnesium daily through food or with the help of supplements. But why is this so important, and what does magnesium actually do for the avid athlete?

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral that is found in various foods, from animal products and dairy, to (green) leafy vegetables and legumes. The mineral is one of the six most important minerals in the human body. Magnesium is essential for the formation of healthy bones and teeth, and for normal muscle function. The mineral magnesium controls more than 300 different enzymes in the body, which ensure the proper course of all kinds of internal processes. All in all, it can be said that magnesium is an indispensable mineral, but what concrete functions does it have for athletes?

How does magnesium help?

As mentioned, magnesium is an important mineral with many functions. It is especially important for (fanatic) athletes to ensure that they have an adequate reserve to meet their daily needs. Magnesium helps your muscles, nerves and blood vessels to relax, which is important for muscle recovery. It also contributes to the release of energy from food. With a magnesium deficiency, fatigue complaints will certainly occur, and it is harder for the muscles to exercise produce after a workout. Furthermore, magnesium provides an increased resistance to tension and stress, it strengthens memory and concentration and provides strength to the skeleton.

Which form of magnesium?

Since it is not always possible (for athletes) to get enough magnesium from the diet, it can sometimes be useful to use supplements. The market is saturated when it comes to such supplements, which means there is a lot of choice. In addition, not every magnesium supplement is equal, and they certainly do not have the same effectiveness. A distinction is made between two types of magnesium compounds: organic (well absorbable) and inorganic (less easily absorbable). The inorganic magnesium includes magnesium oxide, carbonate and sulfate. These compounds have a less high bioavailability, so that the body can absorb the amount of magnesium less well. The organic compounds are more effective in use and are therefore preferred over the inorganic compounds. Organic compounds are magnesium bisglycinate, citrate, picolinate, taurate and chloride.

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