Micronutrients, comprised of vitamins and minerals, are the building blocks of proper nutrition and play a key role in athletic performance.
These nutrients are often the forgotten elements of training. It’s easy for athletes to focus on their caloric macronutrient needs (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) during training.
But micronutrients play an essential role for optimum energy production, bone health, immune function, and protection of body against oxidative damage. They assist with synthesis and repair of muscle tissue during recovery from exercise and injury.
Beyond the common vitamins and minerals mentioned above, there are some other key essential micronutrients called trace minerals that serve vital roles in the body, particularly for athletes.
Trace minerals are required for the proper functioning of biological processes including muscle contraction, bone health, nerve function, and energy metabolism. Trace minerals include: zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, and chromium are needed only in small amounts (less than 20mg/day). Zinc plays a role in immune function. Selenium is essential for thyroid function. While chromium helps move glucose through the blood stream and is involved in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates into energy.
Trace minerals occur naturally in many foods, but are also depleted by the body during exercise. Mineral replacement is essential during long periods of exercise.
For athletes interested in learning more about macro- and micronutrients, download this free publication "Runners Guide To Electrolytes: Electrolytes and Carbohydrate Replacement", by sports nutritionist, Nina Anderson (SPN) of Safe Goods Publishing.