Why Athletes Need Magnesium to Maximize Performance

Are you feeling exhausted, or getting unusual muscle cramps during workouts?

You might be deficient in magnesium.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that 75% of the U.S. population is deficient in. “Studies have shown that only about 25% of U.S. adults are at or above the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams for women and 400 to 420 for men,” says Dr. Danine Fruge, Associate Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida.1

One of the benefits of magnesium is the ability to help produce more mitochondria during exercise.

There are two ways to become a high performing athlete.

  1. Increasing the total number of mitochondria
  2. Increasing the efficiencies of the mitochondria

To increase exercise performance, you must increase the ability of your cells to consume more oxygen known as ‘oxidative capacity’. This is the ability to breakdown oxygen in your muscle cells via the mitochondria which ultimately produces adenosine triphosphate or more commonly known as ATP. ATP is the biochemical way to store and use energy in your muscles. To be an efficient athlete you must produce more ATP than you are consuming. If you don’t, you will get muscle fatigue, feel tired and even get muscle cramps.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick talks about Maximizing Your Mitochondria with Magnesium

Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can increase the development of new mitochondria. This is done by cloning the cells via enzymes that require magnesium as a cofactor. So if your magnesium levels are low, you will have a hard time cloning new mitochondria cells. Not making new mitochondria cells will lower your exercise performance. Having low levels of magnesium will reduce your ability in making new mitochondria cells and thus your ability to maximize exercise performance diminishes. So you want to make sure your levels of magnesium are within the recommended level of 310 mg for women, and 420 mg for men.

The best way in getting more magnesium is by eating dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens. Nuts like sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, and cashews are also excellent sources.


  1. CNN, Magnesium, an invisible deficiency that could be harming your health