The Center for Magnesium Education & Research, LLC says,
“If someone has any muscle cramping, twitches, muscle tightness, chances are they are magnesium deficient.”
Magnesium plays a huge role in energy production, oxygen uptake, central nervous system function, electrolyte balance, glucose metabolism and muscle activity. It is important in muscle cell function and structure too, impacting construction of the cell membrane. It is also vitally important to the electrolyte balance of individual cells.
Once magnesium levels in the body are low, the muscles will suffer from tension making them hard to relax; cramping. This is something many cyclists suffer from.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium for women aged 19 to 70 is 310/320 mg per day. For men aged 19 to 70 it’s 420 mg per day and up to 800 mg a day can be helpful for certain medical conditions.
High Magnesium Foods Include:
Nuts: cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, Hazel nuts, walnuts, fresh/dried coconut
Seafood: winkles, conch, shrimp, whelks, clams, cockles, crab
Vegetables: soybeans, butter beans, soy flour, beans/peas, beet greens, chard, spinach, collards, seaweed
Grains: all bran, raw oats, whole barley, whole wheat bread, brown rice, corn meal, rye flour
Fruits: dried figs, dried apricots, dates
Each food item listed has at least 100 mg of magnesium per 100 g of that food.
As you can see having a healthy diet will ensure your magnesium is at a normal level, but what happens when we need more due to the stress of high levels of training and racing.
Here are two common ways to get more magnesium into your body to help with muscle health.
Supplements. Just about every vitamin brand will sell you a magnesium tablet, some are laced with more minerals and vitamins to help with uptake and electrolyte balance and can be helpful. Do some research to find out what is best for you.
Magnesium Oil. This is my new favorite way to get high doses of magnesium, especially when I have a race coming up. I use a magnesium oil spray and rub it into my legs morning and evening beginning about three days from the start. It can be itchy but the benefits far out weigh the temporary discomfort.
We make our own at home:
How To Make Your Own Magnesium Oil.
Wellness Mama has a simple homemade magnesium oil recipe made with magnesium chloride flakes helps with leg cramps while racing and riding bikes.
- ½ cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes – these can be bought found easily eBay
- ½ cup distilled water
- A glass bowl or glass measuring cup
- A glass spray bottle (plastic will work too)
- Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled to extend the shelf life of the mixture. Put the Magnesium Chloride Flakes in the glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the boiling water over it.
- Stir well until completely dissolved. Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle. Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months.