Minerals

Minerals are inorganic elements.

Minerals are combined with each other to form the rocks that make up the earth’s crust.

In the human body, minerals play a more dynamic and vital role, especially during exercise.

Minerals serve as the rocks upon which cellular reactions take place. Their physical surface provides the space where enzymes and substrates meet, where nerve transmissions occur and where energy transactioons take place. In fact, most molecular activities could not occur if minerals were not present.

There are eight major minerals (calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur) required by the human body in suffient amounts and other trace minerals, required in much smaller amounts. Both are essential to good health.

Minerals make up four percent of total body weight. Each mineral has a unique structural and regulatory roles.  A mineral is considered structural when it is an integral part of the cell. In their regulatory roles, it is the concentration of the specific mineral that effects the biological reactions they are a part of. These regulatory functions include electrolyte balance, muscle contractility and nerve transmission.

Muscles

The contraction of muscle tissue and the resulting movement of bones depend on the presence of calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and iron. Phosphorpous is needed to power the contraction while sulfur is used to maintain strength. The trace minerals boron, chromium, and manganese are also of considerable importance to exercise and its recovery.

Bone

Bone is a hard, calcified tissue. Bone supports the body and protects all its vital organs, including the brain, lungs, heart and marrow. Bone also acts as a reservoir of calcium and phosphates and contributes to acid-base balance by their release.

The ability to load skeletal muscle is linked to the density and architecture of the underlying bone, which responds to the demands placed on it by increasing or decreasing its mass. This occurs by the mineralization of bone with calcium. The bigger the load placed on it, the stronger the bone becomes.

 

Minerals are inorganic elements. Minerals combine with each other to form all of the rocks that make up the earth’s crust.

In the human body, minerals play a more dynamic and vital role, especially during exercise.

Minerals serve as the rocks upon which cellular reactions take place. Their physical surface provides the space where enzymes and substrates meet, where nerve transmissions occur and where energy transactioons take place. In fact, most molecular activities could not occur if minerals were not present.

There are eight major minerals (calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur) required by the human body in suffient amounts and other trace minerals, required in much smaller amounts. They are both essential to good health.

Minerals make up four percent of total body weight. Each mineral has a unique structural and regulatory roles.  A mineral is considered structural when it is an integral part of the cell. In their regulatory roles, it is the concentration of the specific mineral that effects the biological reactions they are a part of. These regulatory functions include electrolyte balance, muscle contractility and nerve transmission.

Manganese

Manganese is an essential nutrient that functions as a coenzyme in blood sugar regulation, energy metabolism and thyroid hormone function.

Manganese is required for the synthesis of proteoglycans.

Manganese is an integral component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). Superoxide dismutase prevents the deleterious effects of the super oxide free radical from destroying cell components. Superoxide dismutase also limits the oxidative damage done during aerobic metabolism. Due to the increased activity of SOD, manganese supplements may be useful in treating sprains, strains and inflammation.

Boron

Boron is an obscure ultra-trace mineral that has a beneficial effect on bone metabolism via interactions with calcium and magnesium. Boron is necessary for the action of vitamin D, the hormone vitamin that stimulates the absorption and utilization of calcium. Boron has attracted attention as an anabolic steroid alternative possibly due to a purported increase in production of testosterone.

Boron is also believed to play a role in joint health and may retard the progression of osteoarthritis. Boron may also prevent osteoporosis.

The misinformation directed at athletes is best exemplified in the following account of Boron. Boron supplements given to post-menopausal women for 48 days (after they had been deprived of boron for four months) doubled their serum testosterone levels. The continued administration of boron supplementation to these post-menopausal women did not increase their testosterone levels and boron supplementation to males failed to increase their serum testosterone levels at all. However, these results were completely misinterpreted and used as advertisements in muscle magazines touting boron supplements for increasing serum testosterone levels.

Chromium

 

Chromium is a trace element.

Chromium enhances glucose utilization and effects lipid metabolism. Through its effect on insulin receptors on cell membranes, chromium aids glucose entrance into cells.

Chromium helps maintain cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride plasma levels.

Selenium

Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that works synergistically with Vitamin E. Selenium prevents oxidative damage and tissue deterioration brought on by free radical attack.

Selenium is contained in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase.  Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme that neutralizes the free radical generator, hydrogen peroxide.

Since high amounts of free radicals are produced during exercise, selenium and glutathione peroxidase, play important roles as antioxidants protecting membrane and tissues from free radical destruction.

Iron

The importance of iron for exercise performance relates to its role as the integral and essential component of two proteins, hemoglobin and cytochromes.  These proteins are essential for oxygen transport and the generation of cellular energy during aerobic metabolism. These two functions are major determinants of fatigue. While iron status may affect performance, it is doubtful that male athletes are deficient in iron and therefore do not require iron supplements.

Electrolytes

Nearly all the chemical reactions that occur in cells depend on fluid (water) and electrolyte balance. Potassium, sodium and chloride are electrolytes (mineral salts that conduct electricity when dissolved in water).

Electrolytes are always found in pairs. They are paired because of the need to offset each others electrical charge. Cations are positively charged molecules (sodium and potassium), while anions (chloride) are negatively charged ions. All communications between muscles and nerve depends on the flow of electric current or electrons within each cell.

Skeletal muscle is stimulated by signals sent via motor neurons. Information about the outcome of muscle action is sent back to the brain where the information is interpreted. As a result new signals are transmitted to muscles.

This elaborate feedback system depends on the precise balance of concentrations of the electrically charged particles. The concentration of electrolytes both inside and outside of cells must be maintained within very narrow limits. Electrolytes function to control the activity within and communications between each cell in the body