Do you know the role of minerals and their daily need for runners? In this article, we will tell you in detail about macronutrients and their role in marathon runners’ nutrition.
Best Minerals for Runners
Sodium and potassium
Sodium regulates the intercellular fluid balance, and potassium regulates the balance of intercellular liquid. Minerals work together, regulating the water balance on both sides of the cell membranes. Electrolyte balance is necessary to maintain normal health condition, as well as during long physical efforts that last for more than 3 hours and exercising in heat. Sport activities make a lot of salts leave the body, which can lead to dehydration.
Potassium is involved in maintaining a normal heartbeat, it contributes to muscle contraction, regulates blood pressure and transfers nutrients to cells. Potassium has a protective effect against undesirable effects of excess sodium intake. Also, it helps normalizes blood pressure. Unlike sodium, potassium is not stored in the body, so you should make sure that your diet contains enough products rich in potassium, for example, bananas, oranges and tomatoes.
Overconsuming sodium causes swelling of the legs and face, as well as increased potassium content in urine. The maximum amount of salt that can be processed by the kidneys is about 20-30 grams (0.7-1 oz.), higher dosages are life-threatening.
Magnesium and calcium
These minerals in the nutrition of a marathon runner are vital for muscle work. Calcium is used for contraction, and magnesium - for relaxation. Supplementing calcium without magnesium doesn’t make sense, because without it calcium is poorly absorbed by the body. Even if it does, it stores at inappropriate places. If there is a lack of magnesium, calcium molecules take its place. If there is overabundance of magnesium, it is simply excreted from the body without consequences.
Problems associated with muscle cramps (when no signs of dehydration are noticed) usually signal about lack of magnesium and/or calcium.
Also to read: Protein Supplements for Runners
Chlorine is important for normal digestion, as it participates in hydrochloric acid formation, the main component of gastric juice. Besides, it stimulates the activity of amylase, an enzyme that facilitates digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Due to some gastrointestinal tract diseases, accompanied by inflammatory processes, the amount of chlorine in the body decreases.
For athletes it is important to keep the balance of chlorine, just like sodium and potassium balance. Acid-alkaline imbalance, which can appear due to mineral imbalance, causes various diseases.
Chlorine is important for joints: it allows them to remain flexible for longer and helps muscles to stay strong. Together with potassium and sodium, chlorine provides normal water-salt metabolism and helps eliminate edema of various origin by normalizing blood pressure. The ratio of these elements should always be balanced, as they maintain the normal osmotic pressure of the intercellular fluid.
The lack of chlorine, as a rule, is rare. It is consumed with table salt, as well as with chlorinated tap water. Its deficiency can occur only in extreme conditions: because of prolonged stomach disorders, with severe sweating associated with heavy physical labor at high temperatures, with certain liver diseases or adrenal cortex deficiency.
The lack of chlorine causes muscle cramps and leads to rapid fatigue, poor appetite, dry mouth, low blood pressure. Excess chlorine is manifested in the pathological change of blood vessels. A person becomes irritable and excitable, the blood pressure increases. In this case, the consumption of salt should be sharply reduced. The recommended daily intake of chlorine is 1-2 grams.
This mineral is present in the body in large quantities. It is directly related to training metabolism, since it is a part of the energy ATP molecule and creatine phosphate. Additional phosphorus intake helps to remove lactic acid (lactate) from muscles during exercise.
Phosphorus is rightly considered to be the key macroelement for athletes, and therefore during intense training or after injuries athletes need to consume twice as much of this trace element than ordinary people do. However, doctors warn that with phosphorous intake increase the lactate in the blood can drop dramatically. To prevent this, you need to proportionately increase the intake calcium.
About half of the total amount of sulfur in the human body can be found in muscles, skin and bones. This mineral plays an important role for many body systems. Sulfur inserts are necessary for proteins to maintain their shape, and these relationships determine the biological activity of proteins. For example, hair and nails consist of a hard protein - keratin, which contains a lot of sulfur. The connective tissue and cartilage contain proteins with flexible sulfur bonds, giving their structure flexibility.
Also to read: 9 Best Supplements for Runners
How much minerals do runners need daily?
- Magnesium: 10 mg per 1 kg of body weight
Foods rich in magnesium: cashew, buckwheat, mustard, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, seaweed, barley, oatmeal, millet, walnut, peas, beans.
- Calcium: ratio of calcium to magnesium is 2:1
Foods rich in calcium: cheese, brynza, almonds, mustard, pistachios, garlic, hazelnuts, cottage cheese, beans, sour cream, cream, oatmeal, peas, barley, walnut.
- Phosphorous: ratio of phosphorous to calcium is 1:1
Foods rich in phosphorous: cottage cheese, melted cheese, brynza, flounder, sardine, tuna, mackerel, sturgeon, horse mackerel, capelin, pollock, smelt, shrimp, crab, squid.
- Sodium: ratio of sodium to potassium 1:2
Foods rich in sodium: seaweed, mussels, octopus, anchovies, lobster, shrimps, sardines, smelt, sturgeon, crab, cancer, squid, chicken eggs.
- Potassium: 60 mg per 1 kg of body weight
Foods rich in potassium: dried apricots, kidney beans, seaweed, peas, prunes, raisins, almonds, lentils, peanuts, pine nuts, potatoes, mustard, cashews, walnuts.
- Sulphur: 40-50 mg per 1 kg of body weight
Foods rich in sulphur: turkey, beef, pork, lamb, liver, rabbit, chicken, pike, sea bass, sardine, pink salmon, flounder, catfish, chicken eggs, peas.