What does magnesium do for athletes?

This question is about NutritionRunning and Cycling

Sarah Achleithner

Magnesium is involved in maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and calcium absorption, all of which are important for athletes [


]. Inadequate magnesium in the diet may lead to chronic inflammatory stress, which can negatively impact athletes’ health and athletic performance [


]. Moreover, some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may improve muscle strength and function, however, other studies have not shown a beneficial effect


. Magnesium has not been shown to prevent or relieve exercise-related muscle cramps [3].

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium for men and women is 400-420 mg and 310-320 mg, respectively, but it is estimated that 60% of adults do not meet these requirements [


]. Magnesium can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, and spinach, and can also be obtained through supplementation [



Food sources of magnesium on white background

[1] Volpe, S. L. (2015). Magnesium and the Athlete. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 14(4), 279–283. https://doi.org/10.1249/jsr.0000000000000178 

[2] Zhang, Y., Xun, P., Wang, R., Mao, L., & He, K. (2017). Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance?. Nutrients, 9(9), 946. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9090946

[3] Garrison, S. R., Korownyk, C. S., Kolber, M. R., Allan, G. M., Musini, V. M., Sekhon, R. K., & Dugré, N. (2020). Magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews9(9), CD009402. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD009402.pub3