Year IX., number 1.
The role of minerals in sport nutrition
Keywords:iron deficiency, bone health, micronutrients, physical performance
Calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium are especially important in the nutrition of athletes. The low intake of these minerals is often the result of avoiding food of animal origin or following a strict, low-energy dietary plan. Potassium, magnesium and calcium are essential for optimal muscle function; it is important to note that in the case of medium or high-intensity load, the loss of zinc and magnesium is increased through urine and diaphoresis. Iron deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies of athletes, and women are at a higher risk from this aspect. Iron deficiency may have an adverse effect on muscle function and may reduce performance. Apart from iron, athletes should also focus on their calcium intake in order to prevent sports-related osteoporosis. A balanced and varied diet and resupplying the minerals lost due to the intensive load by nutrition (vegetables, dairy products, meats and cereals) will help athletes to prevent mineral deficiency. In the case of a one-sided, restrictive diet, mineral supplements equivalent to 50–100% of the recommended dietary allowance may be used.