Get Ahead Of Muscle Cramps
For many athletes, a debilitating muscle cramp during a sporting event is the worst fear. While a minor nuisance for the average individual, the condition can sideline players and, in some cases, cost the game. However, evidence suggests that preventative measures might help reduce the chances of experiencing muscle cramps during intense activity. As a result, many athletes wonder if increasing magnesium intake could work as a preventative measure to stop future muscle cramps from occurring.
What causes muscle cramps?
Simply put, muscle cramps are when the body’s muscles are overactive. The behavior is an involuntary contraction and is normally harmless. However, the situation can make using the affected muscle temporarily impossible. Although cramps can occur for any reason, the event is often precipitated by moments of intense physical activity or extended periods in hot weather. Sometimes, underlying medical conditions or certain medications can encourage muscle cramps.
Magnesium and muscle function
An essential nutrient, magnesium is necessary to support daily bodily functions. However, according to a recent study, roughly 2 out of every 3 adults in the US population is deficient in the mineral. Magnesium is the fourth most essential mineral in the body and is directly tied to muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
Supplement vs food
While research supports the fact that magnesium is a critical component for bodily functions, results are less conclusive regarding the benefits of popping a pill or taking a magnesium powder to help with cramps. Although magnesium is considered a must-have nutrient for athletes, research suggests that taking the mineral in supplement form is less effective as a preventative cure. In many studies, no measurable changes, such as fewer cramps or faster recovery, were detected for people that took magnesium supplements. As a result, most experts recommend that athletes who want to avoid muscle cramps during performance improve magnesium intake through dietary choices.
Athletes hoping to avoid muscle cramps during games should consider eating magnesium-rich foods. Great options include nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and cashews. Likewise, spinach, soy milk, and even shredded wheat cereal are all rich in the mineral. Although the research is limited, athletes can also consider supplements. Studies suggest magnesium citrate supplements might be best because the solution is more easily absorbed. However, magnesium supplements should be adjusted depending on a person’s calcium intake.
Put an end to muscle cramps
Although magnesium can aid in reducing muscle cramps, the mineral is not a complete preventative solution. Experts agree that stretching properly before sporting events can aid in reducing the risk of muscle cramps. Likewise, staying hydrated can also be beneficial.