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Magnesium: The most underrated supplement that you should be taking?

I was up at 6:30am last Saturday morning. Pitch black, lashing rain, making the trip down the country for the weekend for study. To get myself in a fitness state of mind, I decided to stick on a Strength and Conditioning podcast as the coffee kicked in. That morning's choice was Joe DeFranco’s “Industrial Strength Show”. Somewhere between leaving the heavy, dreary thunderstorm and arriving to the surprisingly clear blue skies of Tipperary, DeFranco uttered a statement that immediately peaked my interest when talking about Magnesium:

“It’s the best damn performance enhancer around that nobody is talking about.”

Now there’s a statement! He made this statement after spending a considerable amount of time talking about the benefits of Magnesium, deficiencies and cost effective it is. I don’t like talking too much about supplements as people usually over rely on them at the expense of real food. (With the exception of my Cod Liver Oil blog a few months back). But it was such an interesting statement that I decided to do some research to find out if other studies suggest that Magnesium indeed such an underrated supplement that you should be taking.

Joe DeFranco. Well, the man certainly looks like he knows what he's talking about...

Joe DeFranco. Well, the man certainly looks like he knows what he's talking about...

DeFranco goes on to claim magnesium can help increase your cardiovascular fitness, improve athletic performance, better sleep, improve muscle contractions and reduce cramps. Admittedly, he was talking about his supplement line so I knew he had to follow it up with some science behind his claims. And sure enough he most definitely did! As well as giving examples of his own experiences with clients, he played a video clip  of one of this previous guests, Dr Rhonda Patrick (an American biochemist and science communicator), who explains the science behind how magnesium supports his claims. 

Who the hell am I to argue with a doctor?! So I started my research not with whether or not he was right but what other scientific and research papers also support his claim on how underrated Magnesium is.

The most important question: How healthy is Magnesium for you?

According to the Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases and Diagnosis, Magnesium has the potential to have adverse effects over on the physiological, molecular and biochemical machinery of cardiovascular tissues and cells. This can happen even over short period of time. Magnesium probably plays important roles in the etiology and generation of diverse cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, inflammation, and strokes via alterations in the epigenome of cardiovascular tissues and cells. Huh? Yeah, I copied and pasted that previous statement after googling the word “etiology” (in my defence, google claims it’s spelt aetiology which is the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition... I knew that). 

Magnesium can be helpful in combating diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis , Asthma  and can help us fight the ageing process as it can help reduce the loss of age related skeletal muscle mass and strength

Basically, it can be really good for us. But that’s not a reason to take it if we are already getting enough of it in our food. Are we? In the podcast, it was stated that 56% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. You're more than likely not in America reading this. However, this extensive study from the Journal of Nutrition of Food Sciences backs up Joe DeFranco’s claim on how common and undervalued magnesium deficiency truly is.

Magnesium can be found in green, leafy vegetables, avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds. Although their percentages of your RDA seem low, combining them with a Magnesium supplement could be very beneficial.  Unless you can handle a few plates of spinach and sesame nuts! 

This image is not here to highlight magnesium rich foods but to eating watermelon seeds a thing? Really?

This image is not here to highlight magnesium rich foods but to eating watermelon seeds a thing? Really?

As always with the fickleness that is the fitness industry and the amount of bs out there, question everything before forming your own opinion. Anyone can write anything on the internet. I like to find as many scientific research articles to back up my blogs as I can as opposed to other blogs. Blogs are just opinions. Unless they’re mine. I kid! It could have saved me a few hours of research just to take Joe DeFranco at his word but no matter who they are, I am a firm believer in getting multiple sources and forming your own opinion regardless of the vast knowledge of any one person. Having done some more reading on the topic of Magnesium, in terms of supplementation, it is something I would strongly consider!