Q: Do aerobically active individuals need to take mineral supplements?
A: About four percent of your body's weight is composed of a group of 22 metallic elements collectively called minerals. Although not all minerals are essential for life, most are present in living cells.
The minerals of greatest importance to humans are those present in hormones, enzymes, and vitamins. Minerals are found in muscles, connective tissues, and all body fluids.
Minerals serve several roles in your body. Their single most critical role is their involvement in cellular metabolism. As an integral part of the enzymes that regulate chemical reactions within cells, selected minerals participate in the catabolic and anabolic cellular processes that are crucial to normal physiological functioning.
Minerals also constitute a critical part of your body's hormones. Inadequate levels of specific minerals in your hormones could have dire consequences for you (e.g., the hormone that facilitates glucose uptake by the cells requires zinc).
For a variety of reasons, many individuals do not eat a balanced diet. In those instances, taking a basic "one-a-day" vitamin/mineral tablet may be appropriate. For most individuals, however, little need exists for supplementing their diet with minerals because most minerals are readily found in water and a well-balanced diet.
By the same token, no evidence exists that for individuals who ingest the recommended daily allowance of minerals, that excess mineral supplementation benefits their exercise performance or enhances their recovery from exercise.
Source: Bryant, Cedric X. 101 Frequently Asked Questions about "Health & Fitness" and "Nutrition & Weight Control". Sagamore Publishing, 1999.
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