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Magnesium’s Impact on Health and Fitness

As a CrossFit athlete, it’s important to prioritize proper nutrition and overall health to support your workouts and training. One key nutrient that is often overlooked is magnesium. This mineral is crucial for the body to function properly, as it is involved in more than 600 of the body’s enzymatic reactions.

According to World Health Organization statistics, as many as 75 percent of U.S. adults do not meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Recommended Daily Intake of 420 mg of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can manifest in many ways, such as inefficient blood sugar metabolism, muscle cramps or soreness, eyelid twitching, fatigue, and poor sleep.

The role of Magnesium for hormonal health

So, why is magnesium important?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in various bodily functions, including regulating hormone levels. Hormones are chemical messengers that control various functions in the body, including metabolism, growth and development, mood, and reproduction.

Magnesium is involved in the synthesis, secretion, and activity of several hormones, including insulin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Magnesium helps to regulate insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, by increasing insulin sensitivity and enhancing glucose uptake in cells. Magnesium also plays a role in the production and activity of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which are important for reproductive health and other functions in the body.

Furthermore, magnesium helps to regulate the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response. Chronic stress can lead to high levels of cortisol, which can cause various health problems, including anxiety, depression, and weight gain. Magnesium can help to lower cortisol levels and promote relaxation and calmness.

Magnesium also plays a role in maintaining the health of the thyroid gland, which produces hormones that regulate metabolism and energy levels. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increased risk of thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism.

The different roles of Magnesium

Here are just a few of its many roles in the body:

  • It is essential for the health of the heart and blood vessels, brain, bones, muscles, and lungs, and supports healthy blood sugar.
  • It promotes bronchial relaxation.
  • It is an essential mineral for the electrical activity of the heart, supporting healthy heart rate and rhythm.
  • It helps relax smooth and skeletal muscle.
  • It promotes the dilation of blood vessels (vasodilation), supporting normal blood pressure and enhancing blood flow.
  • It supports insulin sensitivity for healthy blood sugar.
  • It is a cofactor for enzymes involved in cellular energy production.

Why is low magnesium problematic?

Magnesium deficiency is a common health problem, and several factors can contribute to low magnesium levels in the body. Some of the common causes of magnesium deficiency are listed below for you to be on the lookout:

  1. Inadequate dietary intake: A diet that is low in magnesium-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes, can lead to magnesium deficiency.
  2. Intestinal disorders: Intestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis, can interfere with the absorption of magnesium from food.
  3. Kidney disease: People with kidney disease may have difficulty excreting magnesium, leading to high levels of magnesium in the blood and low levels in the body’s tissues.
  4. Medications: Certain medications, such as diuretics, antibiotics, and proton pump inhibitors, can interfere with magnesium absorption and increase urinary excretion.
  5. Alcoholism: Chronic alcoholism can lead to magnesium deficiency due to poor dietary intake, increased urinary excretion, and impaired absorption.

The health repercussions of low magnesium levels can be significant and they can creep in slowly over time. In many instances the symptoms will be gradual and compounding over time leaving many people unaware of the changes. Some things to think about if you think you are low on magnesium are below:

  1. Muscle cramps and weakness: Magnesium is essential for muscle function, and low levels can cause muscle cramps, twitches, and weakness.
  2. Fatigue and weakness: Low magnesium levels can cause fatigue and weakness, as magnesium is involved in energy production and metabolism.
  3. Nerve problems: Magnesium is important for nerve function, and low levels can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and seizures.
  4. Abnormal heart rhythms: Magnesium deficiency can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, including arrhythmia and palpitations.
  5. Osteoporosis: Low magnesium levels have been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  6. Mental health problems: Low magnesium levels may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

Magnesium supplements

If you’re looking to incorporate more magnesium into your diet, Thorne’s Magnesium Bisglycinate is a great option. This great-tasting powder can be mixed with water, juice, or with another powdered supplement. The compound magnesium bisglycinate, also known as magnesium glycinate, has superior absorption due to its increased solubility and decreased laxative effect compared to other magnesium formulations. It is a true chelate that completely envelops the magnesium. Plus, the glycine in this form promotes relaxation and stress reduction in the body, making it a good choice for pre-bedtime supplementation to support restful sleep.