Magnesium for athletes – all the facts


Magnesium is probably one of the first minerals that comes to mind when it comes to fitness. However, hardly anyone knows how essential magnesium really is for athletes and how it can improve athletic performance. We have the facts for you!

Magnesium has numerous functions

Magnesium is an essential mineral: it is found in almost all body cells. Around 30% of the body’s magnesium balance is stored in the muscles. The mineral has numerous functions: It is required for aerobic (= with oxygen) and anaerobic (= without oxygen) energy production. At the same time, magnesium is involved in building up the body’s own protein and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation. The mineral is just as important for building bones and teeth. Magnesium is also involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.

How important is magnesium for athletes?

Studies confirm that the magnesium requirement increases with increasing activity.(1) Correlations between high levels of magnesium in the blood and improved muscle performance, such as increased leg strength, have been confirmed. This means that you can improve your performance if you make sure you get enough intake. What happens in the body? magnesium seems to lower the lactate level in the blood according to research.(2) Lactate is a metabolic product that is mainly produced during intense physical activity. If this accumulates, muscle work is restricted. The result: You tire faster. In addition, if there is a magnesium deficiency and physical activity, oxygen consumption and heart rate increase. Even with the Strengthening the immune system the mineral plays an important role. It partially works as a true antioxidant – this strengthens your defenses and protects against diseases.


An increased magnesium intake can be useful

According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), healthy adults should Take in 300 to 350 mg of magnesium daily. You can usually meet these needs with a balanced diet.(3) If you are active in sports or do a physically demanding job, things look different: through sweat can lost considerable amounts of magnesium walk. This has to be compensated. Magnesium requirements, however, are individual and should be discussed with a sports doctor.

An increased need arises by the way also at Diarrhea and Stress.(4th)

How can I now determine whether I am supplying enough magnesium?

These can be symptoms of a magnesium deficiency

  • Calf cramps
  • dizziness
  • Indigestion
  • fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • headache

If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, you should definitely see your doctor.

These are foods rich in magnesium

In general, even for athletes, a regular intake of magnesium through food is better for your supply than a single intake of a magnesium supplement. A balanced diet provides us with (almost) all the necessary nutrients that the body needs. But which foods are particularly high in magnesium?

  • Sunflower seeds (395 mg / 100 g)
  • Pumpkin seeds (402 mg / 100 g)
  • Sesame (347 mg / 100 g)
  • Flaxseed (350 mg / 100 g)
  • Cashew nuts (270 mg / 100 g)
  • white beans (140 mg / 100 g)
  • Chickpeas (115 mg / 100 g)
  • Oatmeal (139 mg / 100 g)
  • Swiss chard (81 mg / 100 g)

Oatmeal with blueberries and almonds

Good to know:

Mineral water also contains different amounts of magnesium. You can find information about this on the nutritional information on the bottle.

Magnesium supplements – yes or no?

If your doctor recommends taking a supplement due to a lack of magnesium, it is important to pay attention to the dosage. It should a maximum of 250 mg magnesium in the form of food supplements per day are fed.(5) Magnesium has a laxative effect; higher doses can lead to diarrhea.


A sufficient supply of magnesium is essential for athletes and can usually be covered by a balanced, varied diet. However, if you train a lot, an increased intake (through magnesium supplements) can be useful. Competitive athletes preparing for a competition should ensure that they start taking it a few weeks in advance.



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