It is a fact that athletics increases the nutritional needs of the body. Eating habits and also the stress caused by the exercise can cause the body to be deficient in nutrients as well as vital vitamins for runners.
Apart from being of core importance in the body’s energy production, iron plays a critical role in getting oxygen to the muscles, as it is a major component of hemoglobin. In the muscles, it is also present as myoglobin, which is the protein responsible for extraction of oxygen from the hemoglobin in the blood stream. The right levels of iron have to be therefore present if the proper oxygen distribution, as well as metabolism, is to take place. It also boosts the body’s immune system. Due to the loss of this vital nutrient through sweat, athletes are more predisposed to experience lower levels of iron. Its deficiency may lead to anemia, though the sole intake of iron does not guarantee the production of red blood cells. Lean meat is a rich source of iron.
This plays a significant role in the process of converting glycogen to glucose for energy during the running session. Insufficient magnesium levels may, therefore, imply a lack of energy, and it also forces the body to switch to anaerobic metabolism. Anaerobic metabolism results in the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles leading to soreness and muscle spasms. It also aids in the promotion of bone health as it is responsible for activation of enzyme activities that convert inactive Vitamin D into its active form to allow the absorption of calcium. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are a rich source of magnesium.
Zinc’s role in the repairing and building of muscle tissue is quite significant. It also aids in boosting the immunity system as well as energy production. It improves the insulin sensitivity, which promotes the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, thus enhancing the energy levels in the body. It also has anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties. The latter makes it easy for athletes to recover from strenuous exercise. Zinc is found in abundance in cereal grains. Oysters, red meat, as well as poultry, are also a rich source of zinc.
Nutrient supplements can in most cases be used. However, there is the risk of them containing substances that are banned for athletes. Supplements are not as strictly regulated as drugs are: thus, their effectiveness may not be as good as you may be led to believe. It is advisable to obtain such from renowned outlets and consult a physician before taking them.