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After studying this chapter, the reader should be able to:

  • 4.1 Define the term micronutrient and explain the different categories of micronutrients.

  • 4.2 Describe the role of electrolytes in athletic performance.

  • 4.3 List the micronutrients most commonly deficient in athletes.

  • 4.4 Describe the benefit or lack of benefit of vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • 4.5 Explain the importance of water for health and athletic performance.


  • active transport The passage of a particle from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration made possible through the use of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

  • anion A negatively charged molecule.

  • antioxidant A substance that prevents or repairs oxidative damage; includes vitamins C and E, some carotenoids, selenium, quinones, and bioflavonoids.

  • cation A positively charged molecule.

  • chelation compounds A compound that consists of a molecule bonded to a single atom, usually a metal, which allows the metal to be more efficiently absorbed by the body.

  • cofactor A substance that needs to be present in addition to an enzyme in order for a chemical reaction to occur.

  • colonic bacteria Benign bacteria that colonize the large intestine (the colon) of the human gut.

  • dehydration A state of decreased total body fluid, which is categorized as mild (< 2% loss of body weight), moderate (2% to 7%), and severe (> 7%).

  • duodenum The approximately 1-foot long first portion of the small intestine where the majority of chemical digestion of food occurs.

  • electrolytes Minerals that exist as charged ions in the body and are extremely important for normal cellular function.

  • enriched food A food to which specific nutrients, such as B vitamins and iron, are added to replace nutrients lost during processing.

  • facilitated diffusion The passage of a particle from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration with a protein carrier.

  • fat-soluble vitamins Vitamins that are stored in and absorbed by fat; vitamins A, D, E, and K.

  • female athlete triad A syndrome characterized by an eating disorder (or low energy availability), amenorrhea, and decreased bone mineral density.

  • ferritin The storage form of iron.

  • fortified food A food to which specific nutrients not inherently available in that food are added, such as vitamin D in milk.

  • functional anemia Low iron ferritin levels in the context of normal hemoglobin concentration.

  • glycogenolysis The process of breaking down glycogen into glucose molecules.

  • heat stroke A severe heat-related illness with extreme increase in core body temperature resulting from prolonged exposure to heat without adequate replacement of fluids and electrolytes; symptoms include lack of sweating, strong and rapid pulse, disorientation, and loss of consciousness; often fatal without rapid treatment.

  • heme iron Iron bound within the iron-carrying proteins of hemoglobin and myoglobin complex found in meat, fish, and poultry.

  • hemoglobin An iron-rich protein of red blood cells that carries oxygen to working cells.

  • hyponatremia An abnormally low concentration of blood sodium (less than 135 millimoles per liter [mmol/L]) which, when severe, can lead to brain swelling and death.

  • ileum The final ...

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