As a runner, should my multivitamin contain magnesium?
FUNCTION IN RUNNERS:
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by virtually every cell. It is critical for more than 300 chemical processes that sustain human health and function, including muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve function, cardiac activity, blood pressure regulation, hormonal interactions, immunity, bone health, and synthesis of proteins, fats, and nucleic acids.
Most importantly, magnesium is crucial to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate). When ATP is broken down, energy is released for all muscle contractions, and when exercising strenuously, this turnover is exceptionally high, meaning that ATP needs to be synthesized quickly. Thus, a magnesium shortfall can limit energy production, leading to fatigue, lethargy, reduced power, muscle twitches, or cramps.
Why Matters for Runners:
Runners require higher energy/ATP production to fuel exercise than sedentary adults. Magnesium is lost through sweat, which increases the demand in everyday runners due to their training programs, especially in hot or humid weather.
Your multivitamin does not need high levels of magnesium for most runners.
Instead, for most runners, a plan to counter low magnesium “moments” is sensible. Adding electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, potassium) to your water from one of the numerous available brands is the most convenient way to maintain magnesium levels before, during, and after running. You can also add magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, to your diet. Finally, you can consider a magnesium supplement for these moments for an extra boost during the summer or high training months where magnesium lost through sweat is greatest.
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