In the fitness industry, we often place all our dietary focus on consuming protein or the other 2 macronutrients (carbs and fat) and neglect other important aspects such as micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.

While it is still important to track total macronutrient consumption and distribution, in order to improve your overall health and physique, you may be surprised to learn the integrative role and health benefits that vitamins and minerals also provide.

Within this article we will dive into 5 key minerals you may be in need of to optimize your diet and health. As you will see, these minerals may actually have a key role in how to digest food, store fat, perform in the gym and fight disease. Let’s go…

 

Minerals & Recommended Intake

Minerals are classed as micronutrients which have a variety of metabolic functions within the human body including muscle contraction, heart rhythm, nerve pulse conduction, oxygen transport, enzyme activation, immune function, anti-oxidant activity and even bone health [1].

Minerals can be broken down into two categories, macro minerals and trace elements. Currently the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) recognizes 3 macro minerals and 9 trace elements that should be consumed on a daily basis [1].

While the recommended doses provide the minimal amount to avoid deficiencies and support the body’s daily functions, it is also important to note the difference between avoiding a deficiency and optimizing levels. Most of the readers here will want to optimize their diet and therefore micronutrient intake, so should be aware that intense exercise often further increases our body’s requirements. As you can see, the general recommended dose can often be too low for an athlete trying to optimize every aspect of diet, health and performance.

Here’s an overview of 5 key minerals that may have the most relevance to an athlete.

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