By Glen Chapman, MD
For the last 30 years, my work and research in the field of holistic medicine has allowed me to help many athletes in a variety of disciplines to achieve optimum health and performance.
As the program physician at the Palm Beach Weight & Wellness Center, one of the first procedures I perform with athletes is a blood analysis. We work with a company called SpectraCell, based in Houston, Texas. This analysis takes blood samples through a variety of chemical tests that measure intracellular mineral levels and determine any deviation from an optimum state.
The most common mineral deficiency that shows up in athletes, as well as in fitness enthusiasts, is magnesium. Here is a mineral that is involved in over 350 bodily processes; yet, most athletes just don’t replace it after their workouts. Their magnesium stores after training or workouts are depleted through sweat and physical stress, and they need to restore this mineral to its proper levels as part of their refueling process.
Magnesium is crucial to the Krebs cycle. The Krebs cycle is a complex series of chemical reactions in all cells that utilize oxygen and that involves the conversion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats into usable energy for the body. It is the basis of energy production in the body and the Krebs cycle will literally not function properly without an adequate amount of magnesium in the system.
My work with the U.S. Olympic swim team on the island of Morada, off the coast of Florida, illustrates this point. I, along with several researchers, was evaluating what nutraceuticals should be incorporated into the dietary regimen of these swimmers in order to improve their times.
Any professional athlete or serious amateur athlete is going to utilize magnesium at a faster and greater rate. This depletion of magnesium decreases the functionality of the Krebs cycle. We found lap times were markedly improved when we gave the swimmers supplements to sustain their Krebs cycle. One of the key supplements was magnesium. But not just any magnesium. The bioavailable form that I have used for years is one of Natural Vitality’s sports products called Natural Calm®. It is a magnesium citrate powder that is completely natural, is mixed with water, and can be absorbed by athletes in the required amounts for optimal Krebs cycle utilization.
I have helped to correct chronic fatigue, chronic muscle spasms, hypertension, stress, constipation, insomnia, acute asthma, RLS [Restless Leg Syndrome] and a host of other commonplace maladies by using this magnesium supplement. I have been using it for years, and it works extremely well.
Marathoners and other athletes have come to me with acute cramping issues during a race or competition, and I have been able to bring them out of it within 20 minutes with three teaspoons of Natural Calm.
I have used it as part of my roadside support for long-distance runners for many years. In one instance, a runner collapsed right on the trail due to severe cramping and was rushed to me by paramedics. I administered some Natural Calm right on the spot, and the runner was able to use his legs again within 15 minutes, much to his and everyone else’s astonishment and delight.
Heart health is another issue that athletes need to pay attention to, and magnesium may well be the solution. The heart is a muscular pump that works 24/7 and beats approximately 100,000 times a day. An athlete is stressing his heart and making it work at a much higher level of beats.
You may have heard of instances where athletes will just drop dead in mid-training session or during a football game. In most cases, this has been traced back to cardiac arrhythmia (a term for any of a large group of conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heartbeat may be too fast or too slow, and it may be regular or irregular). Some arrhythmias are life-threatening medical emergencies that can result in cardiac arrest and sudden death. Others cause symptoms such as an abnormal heartbeat (palpitations) and discomfort.
Magnesium feeds the heart and helps it relax and keep a smooth rhythm. As an emergency room physician, I typically give 10 ccs of intravenous magnesium to anyone who comes to the ER with an abnormal heart rhythm. This invariably brings the heart rate back to normal.
As discussed earlier, most athletes can be found to have a functional magnesium deficiency, which puts them at risk for both arrhythmias and more serious or even life-threatening situations related to heart health. Athletes will find much benefit when they supplement with magnesium, keeping their levels normal. I cannot stress this enough.
Up to the present, modern medicine has been working on the theory of a “magic bullet” approach to curing disease. They seek first to find the “bug” that creates an illness and then look for some type of “magic bullet” to take it out. But this approach simply masks the problem. The truth of the matter is that there are countless “bugs” in the body, and only by taking care of the environment in which they live, the physical body, can one expect to keep it in good shape. Good health and magnesium, especially for athletes, goes a long way toward providing the needed support.