Many bodybuilders, probably most, are convinced of the role vitamins play in muscle growth. Fewer, however, may be completely convinced of minerals for muscle growth and the gains that can be had. Yet minerals are just as important.

Even back in the 70s, the famous bodybuilder two times, Mr. Olympia Franco Columbo, was quoted as saying, “vitamins are important, but the real secret is minerals.”

Minerals Act As Catalysts For Vitamins.

The thing about minerals is their crucial role in how they act as catalysts for vitamins. Vitamins cannot absorb properly without them. If you take vitamins in supplement form but not minerals or pay little regard to minerals, you would do better to reduce the number of vitamins you take and add minerals. The cost would be the same or less, but the overall value would be greater.

man performing EZ bar curls

Minerals Act Independently

The most significant thing about minerals is the way they act independently. For instance, if you take one single mineral in optimum amounts, you’ll get the full benefit, even if you generally neglect the other minerals. Say, for example, you took zinc or calcium and left all the others to chance, you’d get all the benefits of the mineral concerned. This is unlike vitamins which tend to work together.

Vitamins A and E protect each other. Take enough of both, and you need less of each. Vitamin C assists the function of vitamin E and so on. Taken all together, vitamins work more effectively. The whole is greater than the sum of parts.

Conversely, taking some vitamins in isolation can lessen the effect, sometimes even reverse. If, for example, you took large amounts of any B vitamin without a reliable source of the rest, you’d probably create a deficiency by increasing the needs for others. Not so with minerals. Although they do inter-relate, any of them taken singly will be used by your body to the full,

Of course, minerals are better if taken altogether; after all, you do need them all, but if not, whatever you do take will help.

8 Best Minerals For muscle Growth

Now let’s cover the main minerals, identify the best sources of each, and how each relates to muscle growth.

1. Zinc

In most people’s view, zinc is THE mineral for bodybuilding. So much has been written about it that even the general public is interested. For bodybuilding, I don’t think it can be over-emphasized. It does so many things. Firstly, by its action on the prostate gland, it increases or at least restores the secretion of testosterone. Zinc also promotes rapid cell growth. That’s what we need in bodybuilding.

The best sources are liver, yeast, and eggs, plus some vegetables. Fish is a good source too. Recommended amount 25-50mg a day.

2. Iron

This is the blood builder, which is very important to bodybuilding. 70% of iron is hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier. Get an abundance of this, and you’ll be able to train harder due to the greater amount of oxygen. Natural iron is better than synthetic variety. Iron deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency.

10% of the population are estimated to be deficient in iron. It’s doubtful if many bodybuilders are short of iron, especially if they take liver which is an excellent source. Eggs are also rich in iron, and so are dark green vegetables, such as cabbage and spinach. Try for around 40mg a day as a minimum.

3 bottles of milk

3. Calcium

This mineral is needed for bones and has a beneficial effect on the heart, helping to regulate the heartbeat.

In my view, its specific value to bodybuilders is the capacity of calcium to aid recovery after training. It does this in this way: After a workout, you have an abundance of lactic acid in your muscles. Its lactic acid that causes the extreme burn you feel when you take a set to the limit.

This acid remains in the muscles for quite a while after training. Calcium, in sufficient amount (1 gram a day), will blend with lactic acid to form calcium lactate, which is harmless. This is removed from your system, taking a considerable degree of fatigue with it. Best Source Milk.

4. Magnesium

Some years ago, Californian bodybuilders experimented with magnesium. Three groups of bodybuilders were formed. Group 1 was given 600mg of magnesium a day. Group 2 was given some tablets, which they were told was magnesium but wasn’t, and group 3 didn’t take any other than what their normal diet provided.

The results were interesting: Groups 2 and 3 reported no noticeable difference after a couple of months on the test. In the first group, however, the one’s taking the extra magnesium were, as a result, bigger, more muscular, but above all, stronger.

There are certain logical reasons why this would happen, which it’s unnecessary to go into here. What matters is that this experiment, widely reported in some magazines at the time, worked. Take 600mg a day for two months and see what happens. Best sources of magnesium – liver, eggs, tomatoes, and dark green vegetables

5. Potassium

This mineral is needed to regulate your electrolyte balance, or the acid-base balance and the balance of body fluids. It works closely with Sodium, Not salt. Sodium. Salt is what you put on your food; sodium is what’s in your food. You don’t need extra salt in your diet. You almost certainly get enough from the food you eat.

Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables, plus some meats, and also in Alfalfa. 100mg a day is a good amount to take.

6. Phosphorus

Some people have said that this is the most important mineral for bodybuilding. I think zinc is, but those who say phosphorus is do have a case. The reason is that phosphorus is found in large concentrations in the adrenal gland, the glad that relates particularly to strength.

The reason why meat is supposed to be strengthening is because of the phosphorus contained in it. Fortunately, phosphorus is very easily obtained in the diet. Its found in milk and some other dairy products, and above all, meat. As part of a complete mineral supplement, a small amount is ok, but you don’t need to worry about getting enough.

7. Iodine

If your thyroid gland is sluggish, you’ll gain weight. If it’s overactive, you’ll have the devil’s own job gaining any weight at all. To prevent either condition, you need Iodine.

Strangely enough, when you take Iodine in supplement form, either in a mineral complex or in kelp, the effect is to regulate and control either condition. If your gland is overactive, it slows it down, and if it’s sluggish, it stimulates it. In effect, Iodine restores the activity of the gland to normal. Anything between 50-100mg daily is the amount to get, and the best sources are Sea Food, Onions, Eggs, and Oats.

8. Selenium

It is more a trace element than a mineral; nevertheless, it is worth mentioning. Some years ago, some nutritional reports, mainly from America, recommended the taking of 100mcg of selenium a day. Both the American heart foundation and the American cancer society now believe that selenium can offer some protection against heart disease and cancer.

Although effective alone, it works with vitamins C and E as a free radical destroyer. A number of top bodybuilders have mentioned that some people are gaining an anabolic effect from selenium. Having said that, it’s not recommended to more than 200mg a day of this element, as this amount is considered optimum.

To Sum Up

Those then are some of the major minerals. There are others, plus a number of trace elements which are all valuable in nutrition. As a rule, if you get a good supply of most of the ones listed, you’ll get the rest, as they tend to be together.

Copper, for example, is nearly always found with iron. Silicon is usually found where you find zinc. If you spread your diet around fish, seafood generally, fruit and vegetables, partially the darker green ones, some cereals like oats, in other words, a fairly broad spectrum,m of foods, you’ll probably get enough minerals.

If you use a supplement, the best ones are chelated. When you take minerals, they are bound with amino acids in the body. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure enough protein to provide the amino acids to complete the process. With chelated minerals, this process is done for you.

So, don’t neglect minerals in your diet. Even though they do not get as much publicity as vitamins, they are nevertheless just as important, not least for successful bodybuilding.

References and Excerpts

Article: Foord For Thought. Author: Bernard Beverly, Muscle co magazine