If you are a runner, you understand just how important getting all your vitamins are, but can you recognize zinc deficiency symptoms? Do you know how much zinc you need and where to find it?
Why Do Runners Need Zinc?
Zinc is very important for a great variety of bodily functions and processes, but why is it particularly important for runners to get enough zinc?
While there are those who argue the point, many professional athletes claim that zinc not only helps to boost their immune system so that they do not get sick during their ‘work’ season, but also that zinc helps to speed up the recovery of the body in between workouts, matches or meets. And experience tends to win out when it comes to recommendations.
While it is important that athletes don’t succumb to illness or viral infections and therefore miss valuable play time, it is also important to keep one’s zinc levels high for two main reasons:
- First because during strenuous workouts or exercise athletes tend to develop micro tears in their muscles and tissues which zinc can help to mend.
- Secondly, because plasma testosterone is regulated by zinc and without zinc muscle mass (and therefore strength) may not be up to par without it.
How Much Zinc is Enough?
While it is not recommended that the average person consume more than 15-20 mg of zinc per day (so as to avoid zinc toxicity,) active people can handle more. For sedentary individuals, 15-20 mg of zinc is enough, but for runners, taking up to 50 mg of zinc a day can help to improve performance as well as bolster immunity and help you to heal faster in between performances.
It is not recommended that anyone take more than 50 mg per day unless under a doctor’s supervision.
While larger amounts of zinc can safely be taken, more than 300 mg per day have some ill effects such as impairment of the immune systems. Even taking more than 150 mg per day can result in stomach upsets, sleepiness, and even blood in the urine.
How do you get more zinc into your diet?
A Zinc-Rich Diet
While plenty of supplements in pill, tablet, and lozenge form are available for zinc supplementation, the easiest way to add zinc into your diet is to eat foods that are rich in zinc. This includes red meat, turkey, beans, whole grains, and other foods rich in zinc.
Since it is important that athletes eat a well-balanced diet, including foods rich in zinc should be fairly easy. Just include zinc filled foods as a part of your regular daily intake and training program and supplement your food with a minimal zinc supplement and you should have no problem ensuring that you get enough for your athletic performance.