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Valuable & Important Facts on Vitamins & Minerals

Valuable & Important Facts on Vitamins & Minerals

We all know that vitamins and minerals play a vital role in our development and general health. In this article, we give you important facts on vitamins & minerals and where you can find them.

Vitamins are vital for the body. They are necessary for metabolism, vision, immune health and growth and development.

Minerals help regulate fluid balance, muscle contraction (including the heartbeat) nerve impulses, oxygen transport, immune functioning and of course muscle building and repair.

The majority of this information has been taken from Sport Nutrition and Nutrition for Sport Exercise and Health.

Facts on Vitamins

Vitamins are necessary for metabolism, proper growth and development, vision and organ and immune functioning. They also aid human performance by facilitating energy production; supporting muscle contraction and relaxation. Vitamins also play a vital role in oxygen transport; building and maintaining bone and cartilage; building and repairing muscle tissue; and protecting the body’s cells from damage.

The human body can make vitamins D and K; all other vitamins must be consumed in the diet to meet dietary requirements. Although deficiencies or insufficiencies in certain nutrients can impair training adaptations and performance, no current data indicate that excess nutrient intake, beyond the requirements for general health, will improve athletic performance. In some cases, excess consumption of specific vitamins may interfere with performance, training adaptations and recovery. Which is why you should be careful and read all this article before popping another vitamin supplement tablet. This article will help you illustrate the importance of many vitamins as well as what can happen to your body if you have an excess of a certain vitamin. We also tell you the best sources of each vitamin.

Vitamin A

Benefits of Vitamin A

  • Healthy teeth
  • Healthy bones
  • Vital for skeletal tissue and soft tissue
  • Helps form mucous membranes
  • Improves skin
  • Promotes good vision, particularly night vision
  • Necessary for growth, development, cellular communication, and immune system functioning, as well as the formation and maintenance of several organs, including the heart, lungs and kidneys.

Food Containing Vitamin A

The active form of vitamin A in the body is retinol. Two types of vitamin A are found in food.

Food Containing Preformed Vitamin A

  • Whole Milk
  • Animal liver (beef & turkey especially)
  • Some fortified foods (i.e cereal grains)

Food Containing Provitamin A carotenoids

These include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. It can be found in:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Squash
  • Red bell peppers (Capsicum)
  • Seaweed
  • Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
Facts on vitamins and minerals - Vitamin A
Carrots provide one of the richest forms of Vitamin A

These carotenoids are converted to the active form of vitamin A in the body, a process that depends on several factors, including the food matrix, food processing, and dietary fat intake, as well as genetic differences (90, 146). Approximately 45& of the Western population are considered “low converters” of beta-carotene to the active form of vitamin A.

Deficiency in Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in Europe and North America, yet common in developing countries. In some poor countries, it is a leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Vitamin A deficiency can also suppress immune system functioning and increase the risk of infection.

Excess Intake of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is stored in the body, particularly the liver and can be toxic when taken in one single massive dose or in large doses over time.

Acute overdose can lead to very dry skin, inflammation and cracking of the lips at the corners of the mouth (cheilosis), gingivitis, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, depression and abnormal liver tests.

Signs and symptoms of chronic consumption of very high intakes of vitamin A might include increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure, dizziness, blurred vision, vomiting, nausea, bone and muscle pain, headaches and poor muscular coordination.

Vitamin A toxicity can also lead to liver damage. Very high doses (33,000–50,000 IU supplemental beta carotene) taken over the course of 5 to 8 years increases the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease in current and former smokers.

Mass amounts of Vitamin A is not recommended during pregnancy as it can lead to abnormal fetal development.

B Vitamins

B vitamins work together and are catalysts necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein, as well as for energy production. As such, B vitamins are critical for health and human performance.

Each B vitamin also has other functions in the body. There is little data examining consistently low intake of B vitamins and the effect on athletic performance, though one study found dietary restriction of thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6 resulted in decreased peak aerobic capacity and peak power in trained male cyclists. No evidence suggests a greater intake of B vitamins, beyond what the body needs, improves athletic performance.

Benefits of B Vitamins

B1 (thiamin)

  • Promotes carbohydrate metabolism
  • Improves the central nervous system function

B2 (riboflavin)

  • Promotes carbohydrate and fat oxidisation
  • Maintains healthy skin

B3 (niacin)

  • Promotes carbohydrate and fat oxidisation
  • Promotes anaerobic glycolysis (improves short bursts of energy)
  • Maintains healthy skin

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

  • Promotes carbohydrate and fat oxidation
  • Improves energy
  • Promotes healthy eyes and liver

B6 (pyridoxine)

  • Promotes protein metabolism
  • Formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

  • Forms coenzyme of DNA and RNA
  • Promotes the formation of haemoglobin and red and white blood cells
  • Maintains gut, nerve and skin tissue

Food containing B Vitamins

B1 (thiamin)

  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Fortified bread
  • White rice
  • Pulses
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Liver
  • Muscles
  • Pork
  • Nuts

B2 (riboflavin)

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Oats
  • Meat
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans

B3 (niacin)

  • Poultry (chicken is the best)
  • Fish (yellowfin tuna is the best)
  • Chia seeds
  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Brown rice
  • Nuts (peanuts are the best followed by sunflower seeds and pine nuts)
  • Mushrooms

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

  • Liver
  • Legumes
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Avacado
  • Mushrooms

B6 (pyridoxine)

  • Bananas
  • Chickpeas
  • Beef
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Nuts
  • Bulgar

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

  • Meats
  • Clams
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Fortified cereal

Vitamin B12 is the only water soluble vitamin stored in the body. Rather than being excreted in the urine, it can be stored in the liver for several years.

Deficiency in B Vitamins

Vegans are most at risk (especially for B12). The elderly are also a risk of low vitamin B. Each B vitamin deficiency has its own complications but the most common problems are muscle weakness, gut problems and anaemia. For more information on B vitamins check out Sport Nutrition, Plant-Based Sports Nutrition and Nutrition for Sport, Exercise and Health.

Excess Intake of B Vitamins

There is no toxic damage to excess intake of most B vitamins. However, too much B6 can lead to nerve damage over time and too much B3 can lead to a headache, skin irritation and liver damage.

Vitamin C

Benefits of Vitamin C

  • Protects cells in the body from free radical damage
  • Helps regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin E
  • Affects immune system functioning
  • Produces collagen
  • Helps repair and maintain cartilage and bone
  • Keeps capillary and blood vessel walls firm, which helps prevent bruising
  • Keeps skin and gum tissue healthy
  • Helps the body absorb plant sources of iron

Food Containing Vitamin C

  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Red and green peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Sprouts
  • Tomato
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Green peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Strawberries

Deficiency in Vitamin C

Deficiency in Vitamin C is rare but it can lead to weakness, slow healing, infections, bleeding gums and in very bad cases scurvy.

Water, light, and heat decrease vitamin C content in foods. Instead of boiling vegetables (and throwing out a good amount of vitamin C in the water they are boiled in), consider microwaving or steaming vegetables, or eating them raw. Try cutting fruits and vegetables soon before you eat them instead of buying precut produce or leaving cut produce out of the refrigerator for long periods prior to eating. The more surface area (smaller pieces of produce) exposed to heat and light, the greater the amount of vitamin C lost.

Excess Intake of Vitamin C

Very large amounts (over 1,000mg a day) can cause diarrhoea and an upset stomach. In very rare cases it can lead to kidney stones and iron overload.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes from food and dietary supplements and is made in the body when the skin is exposed to UVB rays from the sun. All of these forms are inert and must be converted to the active form, calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), in the kidneys.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Maintaining vitamin D levels at or above 20 ng/mL is associated with a decreased risk of fractures, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, depressed mood, cognitive decline and death, though the association with fractures and cardiovascular disease has not been seen in black individuals. Vitamin D also plays a key role in the below:

  • Vital for muscle and immune function
  • Promotes calcium absorption
  • Helps to maintain blood calcium and phosphorus levels for normal bone mineralisation
  • Reduces inflammation

Food Containing Vitamin D

This fat-soluble vitamin is formed by the action of sunlight on the skin.

Facts on vitamins and minerals
Get some sunshine on your skin and allow vitamin D synthesis to occur

The best food sources of Vitamin D are:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Swordfish
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Orange Juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Yoghurt (fortified with vitamin D)
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Oils
  • Margarine

Deficiency in Vitamin D

  • Weak bones
  • Weak muscles
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

It remains unclear whether vitamin D deficiency causes inflammation or is a consequence of inflammation. People who see very little sunlight are most likely to suffer from a deficiency. Tanning beds are not a safe way to get vitamin D you just need sunlight, even if it’s only a few minutes a day. A supplement can be taken in winter months if necessary.

Excess Intake of Vitamin D

As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D can accumulate in tissues and become toxic when levels are very high. Toxicity can occur over time with supplemental or prescription doses. It is not possible for the human body to produce toxic levels of vitamin D from exposure to UV light (either through sunlight or tanning beds) and consumption of toxic levels through food is highly unlikely. Patients with chronic granuloma-forming disorders, including sarcoidosis and tuberculosis; chronic fungal infections; or lymphoma might overproduce vitamin D, which can lead to high blood calcium or high levels of calcium in the urine.

Loss of appetite and joint pains are common effects of excess intake of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is incorporated in the body’s cellular and subcellular membranes, where it prevents oxidative damage to the fats in cell membranes. Vitamin E is also involved in:

  • Immune functioning
  • Improves aerobic capacity
  • Cell signalling
  • Metabolic processes
  • Blood vessel dilation
  • Defending against free-radicals
  • Promoting healthy hair growth
  • It has also been linked to reducing UV damage in the skin.

Food Containing Vitamin E

  • Wheat germ oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Peanutbutter
  • Spinach
  • Eggs

Deficiency in Vitamin E

Deficiency in vitamin E is very rare unless fat absorption is an issue. The most common effects of deficiency of vitamin E is anaemia and hemolysis.

Excess Consumption of Vitamin E

There have been very few cases noted, it seems to be very difficult to overdose on vitamin E. Some short term effects could be a headache and fatigue.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin composed of vitamin K1 and several forms of vitamin K2. Involved in the synthesis of proteins necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism.

Benefits of Vitamin K

  • Involved in the synthesis of proteins necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
  • Helps to regulate blood calcium levels

Food Containing Vitamin K

K1:

  • Leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Pine nuts
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Cashew nuts

K2:

  • Natto (soybean dish)
  • Soybeans
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Butter

Deficiency in Vitamin K

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Haemorrhage

Excess Consumption of Vitamin K

Again, very few side effects have been noted but in very rare cases too much vitamin K could result in:

  • Thrombosis
  • Vomiting

Biotin

Benefits of Biotin

  • Forms coenzyme for carbon dioxide transfer
  • Promotes carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism
  • Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails

Food Containing Biotin

  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Whey protein
  • Soybeans
  • Chickpeas
  • Milk
  • Most vegetables

Deficiency in Biotin

Biotin deficiency can occur during pregnancy or with long-term tube feeding. It can also occur after rapid weight loss, consumption of raw egg whites over a long period of time, or in those with short-gut syndrome.

Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which binds biotin so it cannot be absorbed in the body. Biotin deficiency can lead to:

  • Dermatitis (red, scaly, skin rash)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Central nervous system abnormalities
  • Seizures
  • In infants, biotin deficiency can lead to lethargy, developmental delay, withdrawn behaviour, and hypotonia (floppy baby syndrome).

There are no toxic effects of excess biotin, an excess is excreted.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is the term used for the synthetic form of folate found in dietary supplements and fortified foods.

Benefits of Folic Acid

  • Necessary for metabolism and healthy red blood cells
  • Form coenzyme for DNA and RNA
  • Maintains gut tissue

Food Containing Folic Acid

  • Asparagus
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Fruit, especially citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes)
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Rice
  • Beef liver
  • Fortified cereals
  • Wheat germ

Effects of Deficiency in Folic Acid

Babies born to pregnant women deficient in folate have an increased risk of birth defects, such as neural tube or spinal defects. In addition to consistent low intake of dietary folate or folic acid, malabsorptive diseases, chronic heavy alcohol intake, smoking and genetic variations in folate metabolism can contribute to the risk of folate deficiency. Many women and adolescent females capable of becoming pregnant do not meet their folate needs. Several medicines may interfere with folate metabolism, including long-term therapeutic doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.

Other effects of low folic acid include:

  • Anaemia
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Gut disorders
  • Infections

Excess Intake of Folic Acid

Again, this is rare and the only noted symptom is that it can mask vitamin b12 deficiency and very large amounts of folic acid can interfere with some medications.

Fact on Minerals

Minerals are structural components of many body tissues, including bones, nails, and teeth. Additionally, they are part of the enzymes that facilitate several metabolic functions. Sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are electrolytesthey conduct electricity in the body. Electrolytes affect fluid balance, muscle pH and muscle functioning.

Minerals are essential for health and athletic performance; deficiencies can lead to health consequences and performance decrements. Mineral needs depend on gender and life stage (pregnancy, lactation, etc.). Table 1 includes the dietary guidelines or Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for adults aged 19 to 30. Though vital, there is no evidence to suggest that increased intake of minerals, beyond the dietary reference intakes (DRIs), will improve training adaptations or measures of performance.

Table 1 Dietary Reference Intakes for Minerals for Adults 19 to 30 years old

Mineral Males   Females Pregnancy Lactation
Calcium **1,000 mg **1,000 mg **1,000 mg **1,000 mg
Chloride *2.3 mg *2.3 mg *2.3 mg *2.3 mg
Choline *550 mg *425 mg *450 mg *550 mg
Chromium *35 µg *25 µg *30 µg *45 µg
Copper **700 µg **700 µg **800 µg **1,000 µg
Iodine **95 µg **95 µg **160 µg **209 µg
Iron **6 mg **8.1 mg **22 mg **6.5 mg
Magnesium **400 mg   **310 mg **350 mg **310 mg
Manganese *2.3 mg *1.8 mg *2.0 mg *2.6 mg
Molybdenum **34 µg **34 µg **40 µg **36 µg
Phosphorus **580 mg **580 mg **580 mg **580 mg
Potassium *700 mg *700 mg *700 mg *700 mg
Selenium **45 µg **45 µg **49 µg **59 µg
Sodium *1.5 g *1.5 g *1.5 g *1.5 g
Zinc **9.4 mg **6.8 mg **9.5 mg **10.4 mg

All values are estimated average requirements (EAR) unless otherwise indicated.

A microgram (μg) is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). A milligram is 1,000 times smaller than a gram (g).

*Specifies adequate intake (AI)

**Specifies recommended dietary allowances (RDA)

Calcium

All cells require calcium. Calcium is involved in hormone secretion and nerve transmission, constricting and dilating blood vessels, and acts as an intracellular messenger supporting muscle contraction. Calcium keeps bones and teeth strong and functioning properly. Ninety-nine percent of calcium is stored in bones and teeth in the form of hydroxyapatite.

Benefits of Calcium

  • Promotes bone and teeth formation
  • Improves muscle contraction
  • Promotes membrane potentials
  • Improves nerve impulse transmission
  • Regulates enzyme activity

Food Containing Calcium

  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Soy Milk
  • Tofu (made with calcium sulfate)
  • Egg yolk
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Beans

Deficiency in Calcium

Deficiency is not common, however, even mild deficiency can lead to bone loss, therefore it is important you’re getting your RDA (1,000mg). Calcium is vital during childhood and adolescence, absorption also decreases for older adults.

Common effects of calcium deficiency:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Brittle bones
  • Impaired muscle contraction
  • Muscle cramps

Excess Intake of Calcium

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Constipation
  • Kidney stones
  • Impaired kidney function, decreased absorption of other minerals

Chromium

Chromium is important for the functioning of insulin, a hormone involved in the metabolism and storage of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Chromium is found in small amounts throughout the food supply, though food processing can decrease the chromium content of whole grains and other foods.

Benefits of Chromium

  • Blood sugar control
  • Augments insulin action

Food Containing Chromium

  • Whole-grain products (particularly barley and oats)
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Beef
  • Oysters
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Cheese
  • Beer
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts (particularly Brazil nuts and almonds)
  • Basil and parsley

Deficiency in Chromium

Chromium deficiency is rare and has been observed only in hospitalised patients fed intravenously

Common effects of chromium deficiency:

  • Glucose intolerance
  • Impaired lipid metabolism

Excess Intake of Chromium

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Constipation
  • Kidney stones
  • Impaired kidney function, decreased absorption of other minerals

Copper

Benefits of Copper

Copper is necessary for the functioning of several enzymes, helps the body make haemoglobin and assists with energy production. Working with iron copper builds red blood cells. Copper also helps immune function and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

Food Containing Copper

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Sesame seeds
  • Oysters
  • Cocoa powder (chocolate)
  • Cashew nuts
  • Pink or red lentils
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Radishes
  • Kidney beans
  • Walnuts
  • Figs
  • Blackberries

Deficiency in Copper

Deficiency in copper is rare but could lead to:

  • Anemia
  • Impaired immune function
  • Bone demineralisation

Excess Intake of Copper

Copper is fairly nontoxic, but long-term excessive intake can lead to organ damage. Short term overdose may lead to nausea and vomiting but this is very unlikely.

Iron

Benefits of Iron

Iron is necessary for growth, development, cell functioning, immune functioning and the synthesis and functioning of some hormones.

Iron is also essential for the proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin transfers oxygen throughout the body; myoglobin transports oxygen to muscles

Food Containing Iron

Two types of iron are found in food: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron, derived from hemoglobin, is found in foods that contain hemoglobin—animal foods such as red meat, fish and poultry. Approximately 15 to 35% of heme iron is absorbed. Dietary factors do not affect heme iron absorption. Vegetables, grains, iron-fortified breakfast cereal and other non-meat-based foods contain non-heme iron. Vitamin C helps absorb iron.

  • Red meat
  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Kidney beans
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Bread
  • Most nuts

Deficiency in Iron

Vegans, vegetarians and pregnant women are most likely to suffer from an iron deficiency. If you are vegan or vegetarian check out the book Plant-Based Sports Nutrition it has a whole chapter dedicated to iron.

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Irritability
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Poor concentration
  • Hair loss

Excess Intake of Iron

Risk of excess iron intake from dietary sources is low. High-dose iron supplements can cause:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Acute iron toxicity can lead to alterations in the functioning of the cardiovascular system, central nervous system, kidney and liver. Though there is some question about excess iron intake (through food or supplements) and coronary heart disease and cancer, the association, if any, remains unclear. Individuals at greater risk for developing high iron levels include those with hereditary hemochromatosis, chronic alcoholics, those with cirrhosis caused by alcoholism and those with blood disorders.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body that regulate a wide array of functions, including protein synthesis, nerve and muscle function, glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is essential for the maintenance of intracellular calcium and potassium levels, as well as metabolism and energy production. Magnesium is a structural component of bone and synthesises RNA, DNA and glutathione, an antioxidant that suppresses muscle fatigue resulting from prolonged exercise.

Benefits of Magnesium

  • Promotes bone formation and fat synthesis
  • Vital for nerve and muscle function
  • Increases energy production
  • Improves heart health
  • Higher magnesium intake is associated with lower fasting insulin concentrations (which means you’re less likely to develop diabetes)
  • Can help sleep and reduce anxiety

Food Containing Magnesium

  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Whole grains
  • Milk
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Bananas
  • Avacado
  • Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas)
  • Brown rice

Deficiency in Magnesium

  • Poor growth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Numbness
  • Muscle contractions and cramps
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Coronary spasms can occur

Excess Intake of Magnesium

Over 350mg a day of magnesium can lead to diarrhoea.

Phosphorus

Benefits of Phosphorus

  • Promotes bone formation
  • Buffer muscle contractions
  • Filter out waste in your kidneys

Food Containing Phosphorus

There is a broad range of healthy foods containing phosphorus.

  • Turkey
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cheese (Swiss, cheddar, provolone)
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Milk
  • Beans (white, yellow, pink, navy, pinto, lima)
  • Most fish
  • Quinoa
  • Almonds
  • Wild rice

Deficiency in Phosphorus

  • Anemia
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rickets
  • Osteomalacia
  • General debility
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Paresthesias
  • Ataxia
  • Confusion

Excess Intake of Phosphorus

  • Decreased calcium absorption
  • Calcification of nonskeletal tissues, especially the kidneys

Potassium

Benefits of Potassium

  • Promotes membrane potential
  • Promotes nerve impulse generation
  • Helps enhance muscle strength
  • Aids water balance and the nervous system

Food Containing Potassium

  • Radishes
  • Beans (white, black, lima, pink, kidney, pinto, soybeans, French)
  • Turkey breast
  • Orange juice
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Dried apricots
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Milk
  • Artichokes

Deficiency in Potassium

  • Constipation
  • Skipped heartbeats
  • Palpitations (heart racing or pounding)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (which may lead to feeling faint or lightheaded)
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle damage
  • Muscle weakness

Excess Intake of Potassium

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Slow, weak, irregular pulse
  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Sudden collapse due to slow heartbeat or no heartbeat

Dietary supplements typically contain very tiny amounts of potassium because high potassium can be very dangerous.

Zinc

Benefits of Zinc

  • Promotes metalloenzymes
  • Improves protein synthesis
  • Helps repair tissue
  • Increases immune function
  • Improves energy metabolism
  • Speeds up wound healing

Food Containing Zinc

  • Oysters
  • Red meat (particularly beef)
  • Shellfish
  • Most fish
  • Baked beans
  • Most nuts (Cashews contain the most)
  • Most vegetables (asparagus and spinach contain the most)

Deficiency in Zinc

Very rare but zinc deficiency can lead to:

  • Impaired growth
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Impaired healing
  • Anorexia

Excess Intake of Zinc

Excess zinc may decrease magnesium balance and copper absorption.

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This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health

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Hi, I'm Ryan, the Marketing Manager and chief blogger here at Human Kinetics Europe Ltd. As somewhat of a washed-up athlete I've always had a passion for health, fitness and sport science. I now find myself working at the world’s biggest independent publisher of sport, health, dance and fitness resources. This means I get unrestricted access to all the best, most interesting, scientifically-proven writing on sports science. Of course I'm going to share this with you!

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