Athletes need more magnesium

The mineral is crucial to helping absorb vitamin D.

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Taking a vitamin D supplement daily might not be effective if you aren’t getting enough of the mineral magnesium, says a new study.

Roughly 50 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium (which is easily lost by sweat) and without proper levels of the mineral, vitamin D can't be metabolized, explains study co-author Mohammed S. Razzaque, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania. In addition to missing out on all the benefits of increasing your vitamin D levels, low magnesium can complicate everyday athletic recovery by leading to muscle cramps and painful spasms, says Razzaque.

Add magnesium to your diet by eating foods such as almonds, spinach, tofu, avocados, and bananas. Most people should be getting 300 to 400 milligrams of the mineral a day, says Razzaque, who suggests speaking to your doctor to see if you should take a supplement in addition to your vitamin D regimen.