Not getting enough of these five minerals affects testosterone production, protein synthesis, energy levels, and carb utilization. Let’s fix that.
Pssst. Yeah, you. Do you work out? Do you perchance sweat occasionally?
If you do, it’s a pretty safe be that you’re deficient in – or could at least benefit from additional amounts of – the following minerals:
I can say that because, as an example, 70 to 85% of the American population is deficient in magnesium and between 12 and 40% is deficient in zinc, but when you add working out and sweating to the equation, it gets even worse.
That’s because these two minerals tend to rudely leave the body through perspiration, not to mention that athletes have heightened needs for these two minerals in general.
It’s potentially a big deal because magnesium and zinc each play a big role in approximately 300 enzymatic reactions. A deficiency in one or both of these minerals can lead to, for starters, sub-optimal protein synthesis and sub-optimal testosterone production.
The other minerals listed above are often in short supply in athletes, too. And not only taking, but ABSORBING additional amounts of them could very well influence the way you build muscle, the way you lose fat, and even your interest in sex and the ability to perform it, along with your health in general.
Biotest’s answer to this epidemic of mineral deficiencies is Elitepro (on Amazon), which is comprised of incredibly pure amino acid chelates that assure complete absorption and utilization.
Here’s why the fab five are important.
If you’re short on magnesium, it throws a big mineral monkey-wrench in all those enzymatic reactions mentioned above and these can manifest themselves in poor athletic performance in general, undue lactic acid build-up, muscle cramping, difficulty in losing fat, poor recovery, and even heart arrythmias.
Having proper amounts is important for other reasons, too. At least a couple of studies have shown that testosterone prefers to bind to magnesium rather than steroid hormone binding globulin (SHBG). By binding to magnesium instead of the unnaturally jealous and clingy SHBG, you end up having greater levels of free testosterone, thus explaining the anabolic effect displayed by magnesium.
Aside from sweating a lot of it out when you exercise, there are plenty of dietary habits that make getting enough magnesium exceedingly difficult. Carbonated drinks screw with it (the phosphate binds with magnesium). Too much sugar causes the body to excrete it. Ingesting a lot of caffeine does the same. Phytates in grains bind them up so they can’t be absorbed.
Add to that the fact that keto diets or Paleo diets, or bad diets in general, generally don’t provide enough of the mineral. Even the best conditions sometimes make it hard to take in enough magnesium – unless you don’t mind eating 10 cups of seaweed, 7 bananas, or relatively large amounts of the other foods that contain the mineral.
That’s why supplementing the mineral is almost an absolute must.
If any mineral is sexy, it’s zinc. It’s absolutely required to produce and regulate several hormones, including testosterone, androstenedione, and androstanediol. It’s also vital to the development of the male sex organs, as individuals with a deficiency have been found to have under-developed testes and low sperm counts.
Zinc also plays a major role in the production of prostatic fluid and some studies have even found a relationship between zinc deficiencies and the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. (Oysters are rich in the mineral, which helps explain the mollusk’s reputation as an aphrodisiac.)
Add to all that zinc’s other super power, which is to act as a strong aromatase inhibitor, therefore blocking the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
While getting enough zinc doesn’t have as many roadblocks against it as magnesium, deficiencies can arise from exercise in general, the aforementioned sweat losses, and poor absorption from zinc supplements that aren’t chelated (more on chelation below).
While this trace element is also known as a natural testosterone booster, it’s not nearly as potent as zinc. Regardless, it takes the whole mineral team working together to ensure optimum levels of the hormone.
Other than that, selenium is generally held in high regard in athletic circles for its ability to blunt some of the oxidative stress caused by strenuous exercise, thereby prolonging exercise.
While actual deficiencies are rare because of the small amounts needed for human health and the fact that it’s found in a lot of bodybuilding-friendly foods (like eggs, beef, chicken, spinach, etc.), taking additional amounts may improve exercise capability.
This trace element is best known for its ability to facilitate the effects of insulin. That means it helps your body use carbohydrates for energy, which is why athletes who supplement with chromium get a performance boost.
People who don’t have enough chromium, though, are more prone to suffer from glucose intolerance. While most people seem to be slightly deficient in this mineral, athletes seem to have even less as they lose a good amount of what little chromium they do have through urine as a side effect of exercise.
The mineral is generally found in relatively high amounts in foods like beef, poultry, potatoes, and whole grains. Since keto and Paleo dieters generally avoid those last two types of foods, they may be even more prone to chromium deficiencies.
This non-essential mineral is a little bit of an outlier. It sits right next to chromium in the periodic table of elements but doesn’t really have many discernible nutritional “super powers” of its own, so I tend to think of it as the Robin to chromium’s Batman. And, like Robin, it does its best to help Batman.
Vanadium acts like an insulin “mimetic,” meaning that it copies some of the effects of insulin. However, chromium, its physiological partner, acts as an insulin potentiator. Together, they make a formidable force and allow the body to use carbohydrates more efficiently.
This insulin-like interaction, as some studies support, leads to increased exercise recovery, increased athletic endurance, and increased muscle mass. The duo also supercharges the uptake of creatine, thereby increasing its muscle-building potential.
The main dietary sources of vanadium include things like mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper, and parsley, none of which are generally included in the average lifter’s diet.
You could, theoretically, get close-to-adequate amounts of all these minerals from food. Many people do… but they’re not athletes. People who exercise have it harder. They lose minerals through their sweat and their urine, making it especially hard to get adequate amounts of the performance-enhancing minerals described.
Furthermore, most athletes get in kind of a nutritional rut because of their supposedly well thought-out food choices, but as you and I know, most athletes find about 20 “acceptable” foods and they ride them week-in and week-out. That, or their involvement in some restrictive diet like keto or Paleo allows them to prance along and completely avoid certain groupings of foods.
Dietary deficiencies are bound to happen.
Of course, there’s always the option of raiding mom’s medicine cabinet for her vitamins. Nice thought, but it’s highly probable the minerals in mom’s formulation aren’t chelated. (It’s also highly unlikely they contain more than a sprinkling of the minerals you need.)
The actual definition of a chelated mineral is pretty long-winded, so suffice it to say that it involves double binding an amino-acid to a mineral. The process ensures an amino-acid chelate that’s not only small enough to pass through the intestine, but small enough to be transported right into the cell itself.
Mineral formulations that aren’t chelated are problematical. At worst, they’re not absorbed. At best, they’re absorbed nominally because the majority of the foods we eat have chemicals in them that inhibit their absorption.
Granted, you could take non-chelated mineral supplements in-between meals. That might work, provided your stomach was completely empty, but that doesn’t happen very often unless you’re anorexic. And then there’s the problem of stomach upset. Many minerals cause your stomach to rebel unless they’re taken with food.
Chelated minerals, however, like those contained in Elitepro (on Amazon), can be taken with food (or on an empty stomach) without fear of absorption problems and without fear of stomach upset. They are absolutely the best way to ingest these essential minerals.
Biotest originally devised Elitepro (on Amazon) formulation for NFL players, so there was additional pressure to do it right. In order to get the highest-quality chelated minerals possible, Biotest approached Albion Labs, the ultimate mineral research group and manufacturer, for some help.
The product that evolved from that meeting of minds was then run through a battery of tests to make sure it was up to snuff:
- X-Ray Diffraction
- Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectometry
- Infrared Spectometry
- Fourier-Transformed Infrared Spectometry
These high-falutin’ tests confirmed that the final product was as close to chemically perfect as possible.
Each serving of Elitepro contains the following:
- Magnesium (as glycinate chelate): 400 mg.
- Zinc (as arginate chelate): 30 mg.
- Selenium (as glycinate complex): 200 mcg.
- Chromium (as nicotinate-glycinate chelate): 200 mcg.
- Vanadium (as nicotinate-glycinate chelate): 100 mcg.
Take one serving a day with or without meals so that protein synthesis, hormone production, energy production, carbohydrate utilization, and all of the hundreds of other physiological interactions that define a healthy human body can take place without a hitch.
- Cinar V et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23. PubMed.
- Lefavi RG et al. Efficacy of chromium supplementation in athletes: emphasis on anabolism. Int J Sport Nutr. 1992 Jun;2(2):111-22. PubMed.
- Margaritis I et al. Increase in selenium requirements with physical activity loads in well-trained athletes is not linear. Biofactors. 2005;23(1):45-55. PubMed.
- Prasad AS et al. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8. PubMed.
- Sakurai H et al. **The therapeutic potential of insulin-mimetic vanadium complexes.**Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2003 Jul;12(7):1189-203. PubMed.