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6 Minerals to Build a Lean Body

While both vitamins and minerals are important, this post will focus on the six important micronutrient minerals that help to facilitate muscle growth and maintenance.

Although most of us understand the importance of macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats we need to put in our body, most of us overlook the importance of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. Thanks to restricted diets or following an intense exercise routine minerals and vitamins can be depleted through sweat or the recovery process.

Although you may not think getting in micronutrients is as important to your goals, they play a key role in the muscle building process and keeping your body lean and trim.

6 Minerals to Build a Lean Body

Chromium

The mineral chromium is responsible for many processes in the body, but when it comes to muscle building, its role in glucose metabolism is paramount. Chromium is an insulin mimicker—it helps clear the blood of sugar and facilitates its delivery to the muscles. Chromium helps reduce insulin response to ensure more glucose is stored in muscle instead of being stored as fat. The recommend daily value for chromium is 200 micrograms per day. Common food sources of chromium are broccoli, beef, apples and turkey breast.

Selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight off the dangerous effects of free radicals and thus reduce the aging process! Selenium is also involved in the production of the critical thyroid hormones and aids metabolism. Research has shown that individuals who have a higher level of selenium intake exhibit more strength. The recommended daily intake for selenium is 70 micrograms per day. Food sources for selenium are tuna, eggs, brown rice and chicken breast.

Zinc

Zinc is a critical component to a number of processes in the body involved in muscle building. It is involved in enzyme production, plays a role in protein synthesis (i.e., the process by which muscle is made) and contributes to the production of growth hormones, including testosterone and IGF-1. The recommended daily value for zinc is 15 micrograms per day. The zinc mineral can be found naturally in kidney beans, beef and barley.

Calcium

Without calcium, muscular contraction could not occur. Calcium helps facilitate the signal to stimulate muscle contraction. If adequate calcium is not available in the muscle, full hard contractions during weight training cannot be maintained. Additionally, calcium is needed to help build and maintain bones, which in turn helps support increased lean muscle. The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 milligrams. Calcium can be found in broccoli, yogurt, cottage cheese and dark leafy greens.

Magnesium

Magnesium goes hand-in-hand with calcium. It allows chemical messengers to stimulate the muscle cell so that calcium can enter and muscle contraction can occur. Magnesium is involved in ATP production, or muscle energy, by assisting in the conversion of glucose in food into smaller molecules that can be used inside the mitochondria to produce more energy.

By supplementing with magnesium, you can help ensure that you have the energy you need to exercise at higher intensities for longer periods. The required daily need is 320 milligrams daily. Good sources of magnesium include whole grains and green, leafy greens.  More information about magnesium in the below video!

Iron

Iron is required by red blood cells to assist in carrying oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also involved in ATP production. Not having enough iron in the body can lead to weakness, fatigue and anemia. Women have a greater need for iron, particularly if they are pregnant or in their reproductive years. The daily recommended dose for iron is 18 milligrams. Iron can also be found in red meat, tofu, pumpkin seeds, almonds, broccoli, cauliflower and dark, leafy greens.

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Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World!

Lauren Jacobsen

References:

Arthur JR. The role of selenium in thyroid hormone metabolism. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1991. 69(11): 648-52.

Carvil P, J. Cronin, Ph.D. Magnesium and Implications on Muscle Function. Strength and Conditioning Journal. February 2010

Haymes, E.M. Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation to Athletes. Int. J.Sport. Nutr. 1:146-169, 1991.

Laurentani F, et al. Association of low plasma selenium concentrations with poor muscle strength in older community-dwelling adults: the InCHIANTI study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007. 86(2): 347-52.

Telford, R.D., E.A. Catchpole, V. Deakin, A.G. Hahn, and A.W. Plank. The Effect of 7 to 8 Months of Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation on Athletic Performance. Int. J. Sport. Nutr. 2:135-153, 1999.

Telford, R.D., E.A. Catchpole, V. Deakin, A.C. McLeay, and A.W. Plank. The effect of 7 to 8 months of vitamin/mineral supplementation on the vitamin and mineral status of athletes. Int. J. Sport. Nutr. 2(2): 132-134, 1992.

Volpe SL. Micronutrient requirements for athletes. Clin Sports Med. Jan; 26(1):119-30. 2007
Weight, L.M., T.D. Noakes, D. Labadarios, J. Graves, P. Jacobs, and P.A. Berman. Vitamin and mineral status of trained athletes including the effects of supplementation. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 47(2): 186-191, 1988

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