Why do runners need magnesium?

This question is about Running

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, Freelance Writer

Runners need magnesium because it is an important electrolyte that plays a role in cellular metabolism, protein synthesis, energy metabolism, muscle contraction, oxygen uptake, electrolyte balance, and hydration. A recent study found that marathon runners who consumed adequate amounts of unsaturated fat, iron, potassium, and magnesium had better race-day performance [


]. Additionally, research suggests that magnesium supplements may improve overall sleep quality, which is important for running performance [



Studies have shown that a deficiency in magnesium is associated with low level chronic inflammation, which can lead to a variety of issues for runners [



Man running on a grassy hill

  1. Macronutrient and mineral intake effects on racing time and cardiovascular health in non-elite marathon runners. Nutrition. 2020;78:110806.

  2. Nielsen FH. Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives. J Inflamm Res. 2018;11:25-34. Published 2018 Jan 18. doi:10.2147/JIR.S136742

  3. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012;17(12):1161-1169