To any bodybuilder who trains all-out, high-intensity workouts mean paying closer attention to vital nutrients called minerals and electrolytes . Hard, intense training can deplete these needed nutrients from the body through perspiration and normal metabolic processes. Found in fish, poultry, and vegetables, electrolytes are minerals that are respon-sible for maintaining the body’s fluid balance, both inside and outside cells. Fluids protect internal organs, supply nu-trients and oxygen to cells and tissues for growth and repair, and transport carbon dioxide and other waste products away from cells.The main electrolytes in extra-cellular fluid are sodium, calcium, and chloride, while in the intracelluar fluid, they are potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus .
These nutrients provide a life-sustaining environment for all body cells and must be kept in proper balance for optimum health .In addition to their electrolytic func-tions, these minerals play other vital roles in the body. Calcium, for example, is required for the formation of body struc-tures, particularly bones and teeth. It is the most abundant mineral in the body, with about 99 percent of this mineral de-posited in bones. It’s important to mention that dietary calcium is not well absorbed. In fact, only about 20 to 30 percent of the calcium you get from foods is taken up by your body, making mineral-electrolyte supplementation a good idea . Calcium requirements vary by age, but women and men generally need between 1000 and 1200 milligrams daily .The next most abundant mineral in the body is phosphorus. This mineral is essential for the formation of body struc-tures, muscular contractions, nerve trans-mission, and kidney function. Phosphorus also plays a key role in energy production. Both women and men need about 700 mil-ligrams daily for good health.Magnesium is required for the me-tabolism of protein and carbohydrates.
This mineral depends on the presence of calcium for its action. So when selecting a mineral-electrolyte supplement, make sure that the magnesium is equal to or at least 70 percent of the calcium. When taken in combination with the mineral zinc (30 milligrams) and vitamin B6 (10.5 milligrams), magnesium (450 milligrams) has been shown in research with college football players to boost strength levels. The normal daily recommendation for magnesium is 320 milligrams for women and 420 milligrams for men; for zinc, 8 milligrams for women and 11 milligrams for men.Another essential mineral is chloride . As an electrolyte, chloride helps maintain the pressure that causes fluids to pass in and out of cells until an equilibrium is reached on both sides of the cell mem-brane. There’s no daily recommendation for chloride, but it is advisable to obtain 500 milligrams daily .Potassium is required for nerve trans-mission, muscular contraction, and gly-cogen storage. It is also involved in the synthesis of protein.
Potassium works together with sodium to regulate fluid balance. Even though sodium has a bad reputation because of its link to high blood pressure and heart disease, some sodium is needed by the body for good health . There’s no recommended daily intake of potassium, although health ex-perts suggest 3500 milligrams for active adults .Right before competition, bodybuilders should be concerned about their sodium/potassium intake. Many competitors mis-takenly believe that they must completely eliminate sodium from their diet. Actu-ally, you need some sodium — between 500 milligrams and one gram a day — to look hard and full. This amount should be naturally present in the foods you eat during pre-contest dieting . The trick is to keep your sodium/potas-sium ratio in balance. By eating natural carbohydrates, you take in high amounts of potassium. If there is too little sodium in your system, your body accelerates its production of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates the vital sodium/potassium bal-ance. Inadequate concentrations of sodi-um can actually make you look smooth.Drinking unfamiliar water can upset this ratio.
That’s why you should be care-ful about the type of water you drink prior to your contest. Some city water supplies are high in sodium and calcium, which can both result in puffiness when taken in excess. For this reason, do not drink or cook with the water in the city where you are competing. Instead, take your own water with you to the contest — provided this water has not made you retain water in the past. If the water you drink does cause water retention problems, switch to distilled water for drinking and cooking. When drinking distilled water, however, be sure to take mineral-electrolyte supple-ments — because distilled water contains no minerals .Other minerals of vital importance to athletes and bodybuilders include sele-nium, which bolsters the immune system, plus protects cardiovascular and muscular health; iron, which is involved in the production of energy; and copper, which helps protect ligaments and tendons .
As for recommended intakes of these min-erals: The recommended daily intake of selenium is 55 micrograms for men and women. Although hard-working athletes may require more iron, the daily require-ment is 18 milligrams for women and 8 milligrams for men. You don’t need more than 3 milligrams of copper daily.Chromium, of course, is an important fat burner, shown in research to shift body composition toward a leaner, more muscu-lar profile. Chromium’s primary function in the body is to help turn carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), the fuel burned by cells for energy. It also helps regulate and produce the hormone insulin . Manu-factured by the pancreas, insulin helps control hunger, regulates fat storage and muscle-building, and assists the body in utilizing cholesterol properly .
Chromium makes insulin work more efficiently in the body. Without chromium, insulin sim-ply would not function. For fat loss and muscle-growth support, the recommended intake of chromium is around 200 to 400 micrograms .As you can tell, there are many is-sues surrounding the intake of mineral-electrolytes, particularly for hard-training bodybuilders. You can obtain an excellent supply of these vital nutrients by supple-menting with Parrillo Mineral-Electro-lyte Formula. It supplies a balance of extracellular electrolytes and intracellular electrolytes . Other nutrients, such as zinc, magnesium, copper, selenium, and chro-mium, are present in readily assimilable forms. I suggest that you take one with each meal to ensure that you are getting ample amounts of these vital nutrients to help support essential body functions.