Calcium just so happens to be the most abundant mineral found within the body. Often when we think of calcium, we think about how this minerals aids in creating and maintaining strong bones. While this is certainly one of calcium’s major responsibilities (99% of calcium is stored in the bones and teeth), it is also necessary for nerve and cardiac function, muscular contractions, and blood clotting. The DRI for males ages 19-70 is 1000 mg/day and for females ages 19-50 it is 1000 mg/day, then increasing to 1,200 mg/day for ages 50-70. Common food sources of calcium include yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, and sardines. If you are deficient in calcium, you are at increased risk for osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
Magnesium is a mineral that is required for DNA/RNA synthesis making it crucial for energy production. 50-60% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones. Additionally, magnesium citrate may be helpful for those experiencing constipation as it can help to relax smooth muscles. In fact, if you are deficient in magnesium you may experience some muscle spasms, tremors, and/or irritability. The DRI for magnesium for men is 420 mg/day and 320 mg/day for females. You can consume magnesium in your diet by way of nuts, seeds, and grains. Magnesium will be most often be food in plant foods.
Sodium is a well-known mineral in the world of athletics for its role as an important electrolyte to replenish during training, particularly in these hot summer months. Sodium is responsible for regulating muscular contractions, maintaining proper nerve function, and aids in maintaining appropriate blood pressure levels. If your sodium intake is lacking you may experience fatigue, dizziness, or confusion. The DRI for sodium for both males and females is 1.5 g/day which can be consumed via table salt, canned foods, and many processed foods.
Last but not least we have potassium, which is another major cation found in the intracellular fluid along with sodium. Potassium is necessary for muscle contraction and if you are deficient, you may find that you are experiencing muscular weakness. The DRI for both males and females is 4.7 g/day and can be consumed through the diet with food such as potatoes, yogurt, tomato juice and fish.
While this is not an extensive list of minerals, they are typically the ones that we are coaches are looking out to make sure that our clients are consuming adequate amounts of in order to maintain appropriate bone health, help generate appropriate muscle contractions, and regulate hydration status.