ESSENTIAL MICRONUTRIENTS FOR MUSCLE BUILDING

When it comes to muscle building, people usually talk about meeting their macronutrient’s needs. Most loved macronutrient of fitness enthusiasts is protein hence alterations are made in the diet in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and fats so as to boost muscle mass and maintain/lose body fat percentage. But at times, we tend to overlook some other critical micronutrients as well, which contributes a lot in muscle building, making us lean and serves other vital functions as well. Let us know of some of these essential micronutrients and their respective roles -

1. Calcium - We all are aware that calcium is needed for strong bones and maintain bone density. In addition to this, it is also critical for our muscle health. Calcium assists in proper muscle contractions and also in the rhythmic contraction of heart muscle. Our muscles contains two protein filaments - actin protein which is present in thin filaments and myosin protein in thick filaments. Both actin and myosin slide over one another which enables us to make a muscle contraction and calcium is mandatory for this process. Hence, during exercise, if the calcium level falls then fatigue may develop. Similarly, calcium is also needed for proper contraction of cardiac muscle. Our cardiac muscle contract after the stimulation of sinoatrial or SA node and calcium triggers this SA node. Therefore, never forget to include calcium rich sources foods like milk, cheese, seafood, ragi, curd and red kidney beans.

2. Iron - Be it a strength or endurance athlete, they are required to maintain aerobic capacity so as to enhance the athletic performance. Iron is needed for haemoglobin synthesis. Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia and decreased supply of oxygen and nutrients to various organs. Muscle tissues needs higher amount of iron due to the presence of heme - containing myoglobin and for the generation of ATP for effective contraction.

3. Potassium - Another requisite electrolyte for muscles is potassium. It is required to maintain the electrolytic balance so as to prevent cramping of muscles. In addition, potassium also aids in maintaining acid-base balance of our body. Lack of potassium can lead to low pH and acidosis which, in turn, triggers nitrogen excretion, weak bone mineral density and muscle wasting. Hypokalaemia also increases the risk of developing high blood pressure leading to cardiovascular disorders.

4. Vitamin C - Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. During exercise, lot of free radicals are produced and oxidative stress sets in. Vitamin C aids in scavenging these radicals hence keeping our cell membranes healthy. Study conducted by Bryer S C et al (2006) showed that vitamin C supplementation before and after eccentric  exercise was successful in reducing muscle soreness and oxidative stress. It was also noticed that pre-treatment with Vitamin C also reduced glutathione oxidation with little impact on muscle function loss.

5. Vitamin D - Vitamin D is imperative for maintaining bone density as it aids in calcium and phosphorus homeostasis. But beyond this, it is also needed for muscle strength and physical performance. Studies have shown that when vitamin D deficit athletes were supplemented with 1000 IU of vitamin D, there was a significant increase in type II or fast-twitch muscle fibres. Hence it won’t be incorrect to admire vitamin D in improving skeletal muscle fibre composition. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent these days therefore, supplements could be a credible option. 

To conclude, make sure to give micronutrients equal weightage so as to stay active, healthy and achieve your fitness goal. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables and try to include healthy foods from all food groups. In case of dietary inadequacy, one can resort to Multivitamin as well.

REFERENCES :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901845/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1334730/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ejhf.467

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999603/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16948483

 

       

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