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Optimizing Athletic Performance with Minerals
Healthy joints are not just a product of getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight; nutritional factors play a large role in developing and protecting our joints against pain and inflammation. As a nutritionist, I am often asked questions about dietary strategies to improving athletic performance. In the same breath, the same client will often tell me about their joint and muscle aches and pains and ask if I know of any great natural remedies. The interesting thing is that the answer to both questions boils down to many of the same key dietary components.
MINERALS FOR OPTIMIZING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AND PAIN MANAGEMENT
Minerals are one category of nutrients that dominate this list due to their integral roles in maintaining healthy bone and tissue and regulating metabolic processes. Dietary minerals are the building blocks of human tissue; without sufficient levels in our diets, healthy tissue production becomes interrupted.
Studies show that deficiencies in minerals such as manganese, copper, selenium and boron, lead to joint inflammation and cartilage degradation which can significantly hamper athletic performance and post exercise recovery. Nutritional supplementation with these minerals is an excellent way to fuel your joints and ensure your athletic performance is at the top of its game. The scientific rationale for using specific minerals to prevent or reverse tissue damage lies within each mineral’s function within a specific tissue. For example, copper is required to activate the enzyme pathway that synthesizes connective tissue such as cartilage and elastin in the joints. This process occurs via cross-linking of collagen and elastin and is important in maintaining the strength and durability of cartilage. Manganese is also essential for the formation of connective tissues such as cartilage and bone. Strong cartilage tissue is extremely important for performance athletes as it decreases the chance of cartilage degradation due to over-exertion and protects against joint conditions such as arthritis.
Minerals such as copper, manganese and selenium also act as antioxidants and play an important role in several antioxidant systems in the body, including antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), which bind and neutralize free radicals that cause inflammation. Free radicals are produced at high levels during intense exercise, and without proper intake of dietary antioxidants such as minerals, free radical production can exceed the body’s ability to produce antioxidants and lead to tissue damage due to oxidative stress. Maintaining optimal levels of cellular antioxidants such as SOD and GPX are crucial to neutralize free radicals produced during intense exercise, protect against pain and inflammation and speed post exercise recovery.
It is important to note that although minerals have individual functions and contribute to joint health via various mechanisms; in reality these minerals work in concert to promote optimal health. For example, antioxidant enzymes such as SOD are comprised of multiple mineral components thus it is imperative that sufficient levels of each of these minerals are obtained from the diet to ensure optimal SOD function.
SierraSil® is mineral supplement containing over 60 minerals present in a rich clay structure. These minerals act synergistically to help reduce inflammation and protect against cartilage degradation in the joints. The clay structure draws out toxins produced during metabolism and/or intense exercise, creating a further anti-inflammatory effect. Many professional athletes have reported increased performance and decreased recovery times with SierraSil®. Minerals have dramatic effects on maintaining optimal joint health via numerous physiological mechanisms. By providing the body with a wide spectrum of anti-inflammatory and joint-protecting minerals, SierraSil® is a great addition to any exercise regime.
Sarah Holvik is founder of Manna Health Group and author of “You Aren’t Just What You Eat,” which describes the inflammatory basis for chronic disease and draws connections between modern day diet, exercise patterns and psychological landscape and our overall inflammatory burden. Sarah is also actively involved in many other aspects of the nutrition industry including writing, research, marketing and business development. For more infromation about SeirraSil® visit www.sierrasil.com
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