by Melissa Chichester
Muscles are what help you move, talk, chew, breathe, digest food, and so much more. And like other parts of the body, muscles rely on specific nutrients to stay strong and thrive, especially if you’re strength training or bodybuilding regularly. If you’re already thinking about amino acids, the building blocks of protein, you’re on the right track. Here are 8 nutrients involved in muscle health.
L-glutamine is a popular supplement for bodybuilders and athletes, as it’s the most abundant amino acid in the blood and skeletal muscle. Intense exercise promotes glutamine formation and the release of glutamine from muscle.* L-glutamine can be used during and after exercise for muscle support.* Eggs, chicken, dairy, tofu, fish, corn, and white rice are all food sources of l-glutamine.
Found in plants and animals, l-glutathione is made out of a combination of three amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. It is produced by the body and is also available in foods. Avocados, okra, asparagus, and spinach are all sources of glutathione. Eating foods high in sulfur can also help the body make glutathione, such as cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and onions.
Proper nerve function is essential for good muscle health. Magnesium supports healthy muscles because it is involved in many reactions in the muscle.* It plays a role in muscle contractions and nerve impulses.* Adequate magnesium intake is needed to support the contraction and relaxation of muscles and helps with leg cramps. * Leg cramps can occur occasionally among adults with inadequate intake.* Food sources of magnesium include spinach, whole grains, dairy products, and wheat.
Like magnesium, calcium is another essential mineral for muscles. Calcium is involved with heartbeat regulation, plays a role in proper muscle contraction, and promotes nerve function.*
Creatine is another popular supplement that is involved in muscle health. Creatine enhances the ability of muscles to produce higher muscular force. Furthermore, creatine is more effective when used in conjunction with exercise to support muscles.* Protein shakes with creatine can also help with supporting muscle health.*
Your heart is the center of your circulatory system and the most important muscle in your body. Its primary job is to push blood throughout your entire body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your brain and vital organs. Specific nutrients support this unique muscle.
Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients play a key role in muscle health. They also reduce oxidative stress and support muscle repair when exercising due to their essential role in many cellular processes. Consuming these key nutrients with a healthy diet and supplements can help support your muscles*. However, it is important to discuss muscle health and its support with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.