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The mineral magnesium is an electrolyte, meaning it carries an electric charge. It helps ferry calcium and potassium into your muscle cells so that these minerals can support muscle contraction. Magnesium — 60 percent of which is stored in the bones — is a critical component of energy production in the body, and it plays a role in various processes, including muscle protein synthesis.

It’s recommended that adult men get 400 to 420 mg of magnesium daily; for adult women, the RDA is 310 to 320 mg, though needs increase to 350 to 360 mg during pregnancy. Because so much of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones, there’s no reliable test to determine whether you’re deficient.

Tips to Optimize Your Magnesium Intake

  • Legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables are great sources of magnesium. In general, most fiber-rich foods contain this mineral. Refined grains and other processed foods lose magnesium during the manufacturing process.
  • Dairy products, like milk, yogurt, and cheese, are also good sources.
  • Supplements containing chelated magnesium glycinate support your muscles, but they can produce a laxative effect. Start with the lowest recommended dose and gradually increase it until you find your body’s threshold.

Learn more about magnesium at “Why Your Body Needs Magnesium and How to Maximize Your Intake.”

Feed Your Muscles

You need more than just protein to get and stay strong. Discover more of the essential nutrients that can support your muscles now and for the long haul at “What to Eat for Strong Muscles,” from which this article was excerpted.

Lauren Bedosky

Lauren Bedosky is a Twin Cities–based health-and-fitness writer.

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