Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Magnesium For Cycling - Part 2

Magnesium, the promised elixir?
Last week I asked Dr. Sipser about what all the hype was about Magnesium in all these sports drinks.  Will it make me faster?  Is this the magic pill I’ve been searching for?  Judging by its entertainment value it had in high school chemistry I just had to find out more about this.  See part 1 here.
The benefits we’ve discovered with using magnesium for cycling are immense and science is uncovering more all the time about how magnesium in concert with calcium cause proper muscle contraction and just as importantly-relaxation or ‘de-contraction’. In Lance Armstrong’s last Tour ride, the team Chiropractor Dr Jeff Spencer in conjunction with their team nutritionist used a magnesium salt solution in their drink bottles to minimise lactic acid build-up. The water tasted foul so they needed to find an alternate source and that is why and what i now use in practice for my patients. The second instalment of this topic is below.   Enjoy.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of magnesium in humans

Another study looked at lung function and in particular whether dietary antioxidants might protect lung tissue against reactive oxygen species-induced injury, adverse respiratory effects and reduced pulmonary function. Healthy, non-smoking freshmen students who were lifetime residents in the Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay areas of California completed comprehensive residential history, health history and food frequency questionnaires. Blood samples were also collected and forced expiratory volume (lung power) measurements were obtained. Using a statistical technique called multivariable regression, the researchers showed that the higher the intake of dietary magnesium, the more positive the lung function (indicating healthier more elastic lung tissue).

A third study published just a few months ago examined the effect of magnesium supplementation on inflammatory markers in patients with chronic heart disease. The study, conducted by Israeli researchers, compared the levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein in patients given 300mg a day of magnesium citrate with a control group given no magnesium. The result showed unequivocally that the extra magnesium produced a significant drop in C-reactive protein levels, indicating reduced inflammation, so much so that the researchers commented that ‘targeting the inflammatory cascade by magnesium administration might prove a useful tool for improving the prognosis in heart failure.’

Optimising dietary magnesium intake

Magnesium is well supplied in unrefined whole grains, such as wholemeal bread and whole grain cereals, and also in green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, peas, beans and lentils. Fruit, meat and fish supply poor levels, as do refined/sugary foods. Contrary to popular belief, milk and dairy products are not particularly rich sources of magnesium. Magnesium is a fairly soluble mineral, which is why boiling vegetables can result in significant losses; in cereals and grains, it tends to be concentrated in the germ and bran, which explains why white refined grains contain relatively little magnesium by comparison with their unrefined counterparts.

Implications for ‘Budding Lance’s’

The latest research on magnesium and lactate adds further weight to the evidence indicating that a healthy magnesium intake is vital for both endurance and anaerobic performance. In the longer term (and perhaps more surprisingly), it appears that an optimal magnesium intake may also be essential for antioxidant protection and for the correct regulation of inflammation, both of which are desirable for athletes, young and old. In my recently released book, 7 things your Doctor Fogot To Tell You  I cover more on this topic and how to fuel your body better.

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Keep Churning.
Warm regards,
Dr Warren Sipser B.Sc.(App Sc.) B.App.Sc.(Chiro) MCAA MACC