Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is an essential part of over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. It plays an essential role in energy production, proper muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, and blood pressure regulation to name a few. However, literature suggests that 54-75% of the population is deficient in magnesium. And for those that exercise regularly, especially resistance training, your requirements may be higher than what is recommended. Also, daily requirements may be higher for those that are heavy sweaters or experience symptoms of low magnesium such as arrhythmias, muscle spasms, or unexplained fatigue and weakness during exercise.
Research has also demonstrated magnesium's ability to increase red blood cell production, thus increasing the availability of both zinc and magnesium to support energy production, muscle contractions, and waste removal during intense exercise. Zinc is also a part of red blood cell production and the release of anabolic and fat-burning hormones during exercise.
How does one ensure they are getting plenty of magnesium in their diet? First, incorporate whole foods rich in magnesium such as halibut, almonds, cashews, spinach, and potatoes to name a few. Second, supplementation with highly bioavailable forms of magnesium such as magnesium glycinate may be needed.
To get an idea of where your magnesium levels are at, it is recommended to have your red blood cell magnesium levels tested as this provides the most accurate reflection of the body's magnesium stores.
Molina-Lopez, J. Molina, J., et al. Association Between Erythrocyte Concentrations of Magnesium and Zinc in High-Performance Handball Players After Dietary Supplementation. Magnesium Research 2012.