In an ideal world we would get all the nutrients we need from our diet, but sometimes this isn’t always possible. Although supplementation is not a substitute for a healthy diet, it can be a useful way to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients our body needs to perform at peak functionality. Two key nutrients for active females are calcium and magnesium, which are often available in one handy combined tablet.
Calcium is a key mineral in the body. If your diet is low in calcium then your body will ‘draw’ on calcium stores in the body to perform functions such as nervous system function, the passage of nutrients into cells and normal blood clotting. If your body is forced to draw on it’s own calcium stores will result in weakened bones, tooth decay and may result in muscle spasms. This increases your risk of osteoporosis. There is also a proven link between calcium deficiency and depression.
The RDA for calcium is 1000mg. If you’re eating a diet high in dairy products then it’s unlikely you’re falling short, but if not then there’s a strong chance you’re lacking in calcium. Also, those eating a high protein diet and those partaking in regular strenuous exercise are at additional risk of developing a calcium deficiency. Ironically, it’s this risk group that also places the highest demands on their bodies. For strong bones and muscles not just now but in the future, it’s important to get enough.
Common calcium sources and their respective calcium contents;
1 pint of skimmed milk – 710mg
1 pint of soya milk – 740mg
150g yoghurt – 220mg
60g prawns – 100mg
30g spinach – 28mg
Magnesium is a key mineral in regulating nerve and muscle function. It regulates the neuromuscular activity of the heart, aids the conversion of blood sugar to energy and also helps metabolise calcium! Together, they’re a dream team. Magnesium plays a vital role in protein synthesis, and so a deficiency can result in muscles that heal slowly and fail to strengthen. As you can see, it’s an important nutrient for active people!
The RDA for magnesium is 350mg a day, which is actually quite hard to reach. Deficiency can result is muscle spasms (remember, muscles include the heart!), a weakened immune system and calcium depletion.
Common sources of magnesium are;
100g of halibut – 90mg
30g of almonds – 80mg
30g of cashews – 75mg
2 tablespoons of wheatbran – 45mg
1 Banana – 30mg
As you can see, it’s not as abundant in whole foods as calcium, and so deficiency is quite common. A supplement can help you reach your daily intake. If you look after your bones and muscles you will reap the benefits later in life – lay the foundations now!