ISSA SN Chapter 8: Minerals
ISSA SN Chapter 8: Minerals

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    Chapter Goals:

    • Discuss and define the terms that relate to minerals.
    • Find the main mineral functions.
    • Know how minerals can benefit health and performance for athletes.
    • Know the sources of minerals in the diet.


    These have been seen as essential nutrients for our optimal health and vigor for a long time now. Many minerals are required in very tiny amounts in the body. we refer to them as trace minerals.

    Minerals are going to be defined as inorganic elements that are needed. 

    For athletes, minerals are going to be just as important as the vitamins from the last chapters, and the metabolite factors. The current research says that athletes may need higher doses of minerals, but there is no real benefit toward the use of mega doses in them. 

    Significance of Minerals for Athletes:

    • Minerals are necessary for the normal metabolism, growth, and health of our bodies. 
    • The proper intake is needed to perform well and maintain health.
    • Surveys of the diet have found that most athletic diets are deficient in a minimum of one mineral.
    • The proper intake of minerals is best achieved when combining supplements and foods. 


    The average amount of calcium in one person’s body is 1,200 grams. 99 percent of this is going to be present within the bones. That version of calcium is called calcium phosphate. This is why the intake of both calcium and phosphate are important for our bone tissue integrity.

    The other forms of calcium that can be found in the body are the forms when calcium is in its free ionic state, or as calcium carbonate. 

    The important roles of calcium are its conduction of nerve signals, transmission of those impulses from the nerves, the heartbeat regularity, increases in the permeability of cell membranes, the clotting of blood, and the contraction of our muscles. It can also be an enzyme cofactor. 

    The nutrients that also assist calcium in its function in bone formation is going to be vitamin D, copper, zinc, manganese, and boron. 

    Deficiencies in calcium are much more common than people in the past assumed. This happens in athletes and nonathletes. The results give these people a worse formation of bones, the onset of many bone diseases, and more risk for cramps and lowered levels of energy. Some major diseases we see are going to be rickets, osteoporosis, and stunted growth. 

    Just as with the other minerals, the form of calcium taken in will relate to how it is absorbed into the body, or if it is absorbed at all. Young adults have been seen to only absorb around 20 – 40 percent of the calcium that they take into their bodies. For this reason, supplements are a good idea. 

    There are no real reported benefit to taking mega doses in calcium. 

    Calcium in our Food and Supplements

    Dairy products, veggies, some shellfish, tortillas, and other calcium fortified foods are where it is most prevalent. 

    The supplements forms are quite varied. There are around five different forms we often see on our supplement labels.


    Like calcium, this is going to be a major part in the skeleton system and also in a few other vital roles. Phosphorous is in the bones at a 1:2 ratio with calcium, so it is still quite present and vital for bones. It can also be found in cell fluids, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, ATP, and many more places. 

    The roles it plays beside bone integrity will include the roles of cell permeability, the metabolization of both carbs and fats, forming ATP, modulating the activity of enzymes, and the transport of phospholipids and fatty acids. 

    Phosphorous has a small role in making collagen.

    Most diets we see will have be sufficient in this mineral. Somewhere around the tune of 1,500 mg every day.

    There is not much research on mega doses, but they are not really recommended here. 

    Deficiencies in this mineral is very rare, since most foods contain it. These deficiencies are really only found in cases of malnutrition in general. These include the poor formation of bones, weakness in general, anorexia, poor growth rates, and malaise. 

    The excess intake of phosphorus can poorly affect the metabolism of calcium and stimulate losses in bone. 

    Phosphorous in our Food and Supplements

    This is going to be found in most of the foods in our diet, and more so in the foods that are rich in proteins and the cereal grains.

    Some multivitamins will contain it, but it is not very sought out for supplementation due to its prevalence in food. 


    Most of the magnesium in the body is going to be found in the muscle, bones, and our soft tissues. Its roles vary from structural roles and metabolic roles. It makes up a good section of bone and teeth, it is going to play a part in the function f the muscle and the nervous system, it activates enzymes, assists glycolysis and the uptake of both potassium and calcium. 

    Studies show that daily intakes of 200 mg to 400 mg are sufficient for athletic health and performance. 

    We see no research supporting the mega dosing of the mineral and no benefits resulting from it. 

    Deficiencies in magnesium are very rare. When they do occur, they will result in weakness in the muscles, irritable syndromes, depression, and nausea. For females specifically, we see some increases in premenstrual tension and overall discomfort. 

    Excess intakes of magnesium to the point where it causes a problem is also very hard to achieve. They would have a laxative effect if taken in way over the excess.

    Magnesium in our Food and Supplements

    The food sources are going to be green veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, oats, and fruits. 

    Supplemental forms come in three varieties and they are all well absorbed. 


    This is a known part of the hemoglobin in our bodies. Hemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen around the body and through the bloodstream. It also serves a role in making up myoglobin and many other enzymes. The stores of iron are going to be in our bone marrow, our spleen, and the liver. We store it here so that when the intake of iron is low, we may revert to taking from these stores as to not run out. 

    We see efficiencies occurring more in women athletes, long distance athletes, and the athletes that take part in low calories diets. 

    There is no reported benefit that comes from mega dosing your intake of iron. High dosages are more likely to have a negative effect. 

    Deficiencies have been seen to happen when iron stores are also depleted. We see the development of anemia first and foremost. This results in the ability to carry oxygen in the body being reduced. There is also a link to the deficiency causing improper function of the immune system. 

    Excess intake of iron has been found to cause death when the amount if great enough. 

    Iron in our Food and Supplements

    Iron is going to be found in the red meats, chicken, iron-fortified foods, nuts, clams, molasses, and breads. 

    Supplements often have iron in their formulas. These are provided in two forms.


    Zinc is known as the main “healing” nutrient for a lot of athletes and also as a prime part of good male fertility. Zinc has many roles in our body that it plays, and these consist of growth, production of testosterone, synthesis of DNA, replication of our cells, fertility, reproduction in general, and the function of the prostate gland. We find it in its free ion state in cells, in the biomolecules, and within the enzymes we use. 

    For athletes specifically, it is necessary for the muscle tissue growth and repair. It helps us to meet the demands of recovery that we have.

    It is somewhat common to see deficiencies in this mineral. It happens most of the time in endurance athletes, low calorie athletes, bodybuilders, and female athletes. 

    There is no reported benefit to mega doses of zinc in the diet. 

    Deficiencies in zinc are well known to cause retardation of growth, appetite loss, changes in our skin, improper immune system function, delays in maturation, blindness primarily at night, and slow healing. These make up some pretty detrimental effect for the general population and athletes more so. 

    If a diet is higher in fiber and protein, the absorption of zinc may be hurt. 

    Zinc in our Food and Supplements

    Some of the common sources in the diet are going to be meat, whole grains, liver, eggs, seafood, and maple syrup. 

    Supplemented zinc is in many different forms.


    Iodine is the simplest of all of the minerals. It is found in two gland hormones in the body. these are thyroxin and triiodothyronine. It is needed for the proper function of our thyroid gland. The thyroid gland works on our metabolism, production of energy, growth, and the overall physical performance. 

    Mega doses are not supported for this mineral.

    Deficiencies result in poor function of our thyroid gland since that is the only thing it is associated with. We usually see this with a goiter, which is enlargement of the thyroid gland. Cretinism, a mental disorder, may also be a result of a deficiency. 

    Iodine in our Food and Supplements

    It is found mainly in iodized salt, seafood, cod, other fish, and diary.

    It should be a part of your daily multivitamin and mineral supplementation.


    Selenium plays a role in the activity of antioxidants. It is a vital part of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This is used to protect the body from damage from free radicals like hydroperoxides. We have seen some supplementation potentially causes less tissue damage in individuals.

    There is no support for mega doses in this mineral.

    Deficiencies in selenium will lower the body’s defenses, more specifically to the hydroperoxide free radicals. Some other symptoms are things such as the loss of hair, slowed growth, problems with the pancreas, and discomfort in the muscles. 

    Excess intakes of selenium will have some effect like pain in the abs, loss of hair, changes in fingernails, nausea, dental carry increases, and irritability. 

    Selenium in our Food and Supplements

    Some sources are things like brazil nuts, seafoods, meat, kidney, other organs, and whole grains. A lot of this will be based on the amount of selenium that was available in the soil. 

    Supplementation is recommended daily for this mineral.


    This is a trace mineral that has some important function in the realm of enzymes. It is a part of the SOD antioxidant and plays roles in energy production, melanin synthesis, metabolism of cholesterol, and forming collagen fibers. 

    There is no real mega dose benefits that have been found with copper. 

    Deficiencies in this trace mineral will result in things such as anemia, abnormalities of the bones, skin pigmentation problems, and defective connective tissues.

    Excess copper will cause some things also. These things include nausea, vomiting, necrosis, and ab pain. 

    Copper in our Food and Supplements

    Rich sources of copper will be the organ meats, nuts, seafood, chocolate, and mushrooms. 

    In supplements we see two main forms of copper.


    This is a trace mineral that has some vital function in the body. it is needed to produce energy, it functions as a part of enzymes, it helps the formation of connective tissue and bone, and it is a piece of the SOD antioxidant. It may also play roles in synthesizing collagen and facilitating carb metabolism. 

    Mega doses of manganese are not shown to have any benefits for performance, and you should just strive for regular adequate daily intake instead. 

    Deficiencies in this mineral is not seen often. It would result in slow growth, poor connective tissues and bone, low SOD production, and disturbed metabolism of energy. 

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    Overdosing is not toxic.

    Manganese in our Food and Supplements

    The food sources of manganese are many different veggies and whole grains and cereals.

    Supplementation uses three common forms of manganese.


    This is another nutrient that has a lot of content on it. It is known as one that aids in muscle building and is an alternative to steroids. But, in reality it is just another essential nutrient for our body to function properly and maintain our health. 

    The major roles of chromium are functioning with insulin, metabolizing nucleic acids, and maintaining the structure and gene expression. 

    Deficiencies in chromium will lead to intolerance to glucose, some form of diabetes, poor control of your appetite, and heart disease potentially. 

    Toxic encounters with mega doses is almost impossible. 

    There is no reported benefit of mega doses of chromium.

    Chromium in our Food and Supplements

    Meats, mushrooms, liver, yeast, black pepper, cheese, beer, and potatoes are the richest sources in chromium. 


    This trace mineral  is very low in prevalence within the body. it is still essential for our optimal health. It is found in enzymes that are used for energy production, metabolism of nitrogen, and the formation of uric acid.

    There are no reported benefits of mega doses in this mineral. 

    There has never been a reported case of deficiency in this mineral.

    Excess intakes, on the other hand, will result in gout, slow growth, and losing copper. 

    Molybdenum in our Food and Supplements

    This is found in milk, beans, bread, cereals, and organ meats.


    The role fluoride plays is on the prevention of decay in your teeth. It is also found in some amounts within the bone and some soft tissues in the body. It can be seen to have effects on the integrity of bones. Supplementation is only available with a prescription.

    Deficiency would see increases in tooth decay and then possibly links to osteoporosis. 

    Excess intake would poorly affect the teeth health along with bones, kidneys, and muscle/nerve functioning.

    Fluoride in our Food and Supplements

    This is found in tiny amounts in foods. Teas will often have a moderate level. 

    The Electrolytes (Sodium, Chloride, and Potassium)

    These are together known as our electrolytes. The main function for them is going to be the balance of fluid throughout the body and between the cells and the bloodstream. 


    • Extracellular cation
    • Osmolality regulator
    • Bodily fluid balance regulator
    • Helps the active transport of molecules through the cell membranes
    • Uptakes nutrients to the intestines
    • Plays role in the contraction of muscles and the transmission of nerve impulses


    • Extracellular anion
    • Fluid balance control


    • Intracellular cation
    • Fluid balance
    • Transmission of nerve impulses and contraction of muscles
    • Formation of glycogen

    Deficiencies in these electrolytes have been seen during times of severe dehydration and prolonged exercise that causes it. The effects will be dizziness, fainting, and a lowered level of performance. 

    Excess intakes in electrolytes have been reported to cause hypertension, problems with the balance of fluids, and edema.

    Electrolytes in our Food and Supplements

    Sodium chloride is found in many things and that represents two of the electrolytes right there. Processed foods are the large contributors to that total. Potassium is found in all foods with a focus in the fruits and veggies. 


    This is an ultra-trace mineral that is only in the body in absolutely tiny amounts. It has several functions such as the influence on calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium metabolization, the function of our membranes, and the formation of bones. 

    Boron is needed daily, and if taken in excess we see vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, lethargy, and shock potentially. 

    ISSA SN Chapter 8: Minerals 1
    ISSA SN Chapter 8: Minerals 2
    ISSA SN Chapter 8: Minerals 3

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