Published: 06/09/2010 - Updated: 08/14/2019
We have seen that through perspiration, the body removes not only water, but sweat is also accompanied by mineral salts. Moreover, increased physical activity needs certain minerals. In addition, most minerals have essential functions for the proper functioning of the body and therefore for the optimum performance of the athlete.
As was the case with vitamins, we must understand that the proper contribution of minerals to the athlete is not going to be an improvement in the marks. However, what we do know is absolutely true is that a deficiency in any of them pose a major slump in form and physical performance. For example, an adequate intake of sodium does not make one a super athlete, but it is also true that an imbalance in body levels of sodium results in a loss of physical capacity and the onset of cramps and can therefore make a super into a mediocre athlete.
The mineral salts are present in all cells and tissues. They are involved in numerous functions essential for the proper functioning of the body. So, minerals are involved in the regulation of enzymatic processes, help maintain fluid balance in the body, involved in the activity of nerves and muscles that form structures such as bones, teeth, etc.
The essential minerals for the body can be classified into macro-minerals and trace elements.
To the macro-minerals group belong all those salts which are present in the body in significant quantities. They are essential for optimum performance of the athlete. Thus, athletes need higher amounts of some minerals such as sodium and potassium.
Calcium: As is well known, calcium is essential in the formation of bones and teeth. In fact, 98% of calcium in the body is found in bone and 1% on the teeth. The remaining 1% is involved in muscle contraction and release of energy. The essential condition properly absorb calcium is the presence of vitamin D. Lack of calcium causes a halt of growth, rickets, weakness and osteoporosis. Calcium absorption is closely linked to phosphorus. Calcium is present in milk, cheese, egg yolk and dried vegetables.
Phosphorus: The phosphorus is part of the bones and teeth. It is essential to harness the power of food and for building proteins. There is a close relationship between calcium and phosphorus that should be maintained to avoid imbalances. In fact, excess phosphorus can cause a lack of calcium and therefore cause bone demineralization. The phosphorus is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whole grains, vegetables and milk.
Magnesium: Magnesium is present in bones and teeth. Additionally involved in the processes of energy release and muscle relaxation. Its lack determines the blocking of growth, spasms, tremors, weakness, immune system depression, impotence. Magnesium rich foods are lentils, soy flour, vegetables, meat and milk.
Sodium: The sodium salt is one of the most important for the proper functioning of the body and especially important for the athlete. Involved in the regulation of fluid balance in the body, in muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Its lack causes the appearance of muscle cramps, decreased physical performance, mental apathy and loss of appetite. Sodium is present in nearly all foods except fruit.
Potassium: Like sodium, potassium helps maintain the proper balance of body fluids, muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Lack of potassium causes weakness, dehydration, loss of muscle tone, loss of appetite. It is present in fruits, meats, vegetables, cereals and potatoes
Chlorine: Its functions are directly linked to those of sodium. Its lack causes muscle cramps, apathy and loss of appetite.
Are minerals that are present in the body in small quantities, but need to be incorporated even in minimal doses daily.
Iron: is a constituent of hemoglobin and enzymes involved in energy metabolism. Its absence cause anemia. It is found in eggs, lean meats, legumes, whole grains and green vegetables.
Zinc: is a constituent of enzymes involved in digestion. Also plays an essential role in maintaining muscle protein synthesis, as well as contractility of muscles. It is present in almost all foods.
The manganese and iodine: are a constituent of enzymes involved in the formation of fat.
Copper: is one of the enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and in the process of obtaining energy.
Selenium: has antioxidant properties and their functions are closely linked to those of vitamin E.
The most important minerals for athletes
Sodium: Sodium is the electrolyte that is lost in sweat as much with water. Therefore, athletes who play sports must ensure a proper intake of sodium. It helps the normal function of muscles and nerves. It is largely responsible for the onset of cramps or muscle spasms when you lose in sweat in large quantities and are not adequately replenished during the performance of physical activity.
The best way to provide sodium while performing physical activity is through a sports drink. The recommended sodium concentrations are not less than 46 mg per 100 ml of beverage and not more than 115mg/100 ml of drink. Sodium intake also promotes the rehydration of the athlete as it contributes to water absorption at the intestine and counteracts excessive sweating, i.e., it prevents excessive water removal.
Potassium: Like sodium, potassium is removed by sweat but to a much lesser extent. Only athletes who have a strong perspiration may have a deficiency in potassium. For that reason, it is usually added to drinks, to ensure optimal levels of potassium during sports.
Magnesium: The lower the concentration of magnesium in the blood during sports is linked to the occurrence of cramps in athletes. For that reason it is appropriate to be present in sports drinks but only has to appear in low amounts.
Calcium: The athlete shows a higher daily need of calcium, estimated at about 100 mg / day, when the normal recommended daily intake is about 800 mg / day. For that reason, athlete must include foods high in calcium and not supplements rich in calcium.
Iron: It has been proven that people who play sports usually have a higher iron needs to sedentary people. It is known that their losses are higher and above all to have a blood hemoglobin levels higher than normal.
Iron requirements in women athletes are higher than that of men, as they must compensate for losses through menstruation. It is then recommended that athletes take iron-rich foods like red meat, peas, liver, egg yolk, lentils, dry beans, soybeans, mussels. If the athlete has trouble with the diet, may need an iron supplement.
Multi-mineral supplements and products
Like multivitamin products, multi-mineral supplements are products that provide a wide range of minerals and which ensure a balanced contribution of all the minerals mentioned above, other than sodium and potassium, which in the case of athletes is necessary to provide them in the form of electrolyte drinks.
In these products, minerals can be provided in an organic or inorganic way. The latter constitute the mineral salts such as oxides, phosphates, sulfates, most of them to reach the stomach, they acquire an electrical charge which greatly impedes the proper absorption. An exception in this sense, is the dolomite, which is a supplement of calcium and magnesium with a good assimilation, which is why it is very common in a dietary supplement.
Source: GSN Nutrition