Welcome to the last installment of our blog series and your journey to better muscular performance and recovery.
Today we summarize how magnesium is the most vital nutrient for any human’s physical performance and recovery, and why an active lifestyle while magnesium-deficient can actually accelerate aging.
This will actually open the doors to several additional blog series about magnesium’s critical roles in other vital systems of your body. (You can find all the scientific literature for this post at iMag library’s muscle performance section.)
To really emphasize the point, let us first review in brief detail, magnesium’s central roles in the major aspects of muscular health, function and performance.
Magnesium Essential To Your Muscles
So far in this series we’ve learned that your body needs magnesium (and cannot use anything else in its place) for the following aspects of your physical performance:
1. Providing energy for muscles – The energy molecules that fuel every muscle in your body are called ATP molecules (adenosine triphosphate). The human body needs magnesium for not only the process of making ATP, but every ATP molecule also needs to be attached to a magnesium atom in order to give your muscles energy. Magnesium IS a physical part of every energy molecule as well!
2. Allowing creatine to work – The creatine pathway that constantly recylces ATP molecules to let your muscles do explosive and athletic work, is also magnesium-dependent. This explains why magnesium supplementation enhances the beneficial effects of creatine supplementation.
3. Muscular relaxation AND contraction – Magnesium’s antagonistic relationship with calcium inside your muscle fibres is the very thing that facilitates muscular contraction and relaxation. In other words, your muscles can’t move your body around without magnesium.
4. Activation of your muscles via your nerves – In order for muscular contraction to even take place, it must first be activated by your nervous system. This muscular stimulation takes place at your neuromuscular junctions, and is also magnesium-dependent.
5. Repairing and building new muscle tissue – How do you repair your muscles and grow them bigger and stronger after workouts? By converting the protein you eat into muscle tissue. This process is called muscle protein synthesis, and it requires the function of two magnesium-dependent enzymes: ribosomes and RNA polymerase. Furhtermore, the cell-signalling pathway that activates protein synthesis (which is called the mTOR pathway) is also initiated by biological events that require magnesium.
6. Production of performance-enhancing & recovery hormones – Your body requires the use of magnesium to make all the most potent performance-enhancing hormones including thyroid hormones, growth factor hormones, and testosterone.
Magnesium Not Only Essential to Muscles
Now think about this logically for a second:
If you need magnesium for all of the above factors, then it leads us to a very obvious yet important and overlooked point: the more active you are, the more magnesium your body uses. Period.
Humans can’t make their own magnesium, we can ONLY get it from food. The problem is that due to agricultural soil depletion, over 90% of people are deficient – and scientists have concluded that it is now impossible to get enough magnesium from diet alone. This literally means that 100% of athletes who do not supplement with magnesium are deficient.
Why is this important, and how does it help explain that exercising in a magnesium-deficient state can actually accelerate aging? It’s quite simple:
The human body also needs magnesium for the structure and function of every vital organ and strand of DNA including our heart, brain, liver, kidneys, intestines, stomach, pancreas and more. To paint this picture more clearly for you:
Think of how lengthy this entire blog series is. Think of ALL the different central roles that magnesium plays in your muscular system. Literally the human muscular system falls apart without magnesium. So now realize this:
The other major bodily systems and organs in your body are equally dependent on magnesium!!! So let’s connect the dots:
How Exercise Accelerates Aging
What happens when you exercise intensely? You activate the fight-or-flight part of your nervous system which makes your body prioritize using your magnesium for your muscles instead of your vital organs. Why does this happen?
Because intense exercise is the kind of biological stress that activates the fight-or-flight nervous system. The fight-or-flight system evolved over hundreds of thousand of years to help humans get away from life-endangering situations such as escaping predators. It’s primarily the neuromuscular system that’s involved in helping your body “getting away” during these life-threatening scenarios.
Your other organs are not as critical in the fight-or-flight process.
Thus if you are deficient in magnesium, and yet are leading a very active lifestyle with a lot of intense and draining exercise, then much of the magnesium which should be going to the daily maintenance and regeneration of your vital organs, is actually instead going to maintaining a physique which your body thinks is required to be ready at any moment to deal with constant fight-orflight situations that your workouts are simulating.
This can lead to a deceptively healthy looking body on the exterior, with unhealthy organs on the inside.
This is also why many athletes (especially pro-bodybuilders) have substantially shorter life spans than moderately active people: because they are using up more of their magnesium for their physiques instead of their vital organs. They literally spend most of their life regenerating their muscles instead of their organs, yet it’s our organs which keep us alive and healthy in the long run. Our muscles are more geared towards movement and immediate survival.
If you’re living an active lifestyle, you ESPECIALLY need to supplement with magnesium not only to improve your performance, but to prevent the gradual deterioration of your organs and DNA. This is because any and all exercise dramatically increases your magnesium utilization, yet magnesium is also needed for the daily maintenance and regeneration of your vital organs such aas your heart, brain, liver, kidneys and more.
Thanks for joining us on this journey about your most muscular system’s most vital nutrient. We hope this information is valuable enough for you to share with your friends and loved ones, and help change their lives for the better.
To check out our othe blog series on the other bodily systems that depend on magnesium, visit our blog’s main page.
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Anything not referenced/cited here can be found on iMag Library (magnesiumhealth.org). This is our sister website that we created for you with all the scientific literature about magnesium and the human body.
(We assume no responsibility and/or credit for any of the graphics used in this post. All credit goes to the various and individual creators of graphic and visual content.)