The Importance of Calcium

During intense exercise (exercise exceeding about 60% VO2max) several changes to muscle tissue take place that can limit the ability to continue. Muscles are depleted of the important energy substrates, creatine phosphate and glycogen, muscle tissue is torn and damaged, and lactic acid and hydrogen ion concentration establish an acidic pH.

Decreased pH (an acidic level many trainers refer to as lactic acid) in muscle, with a connected decrease in blood as well, leads to limits in athletic performance. All enzymes, including those involved in muscle performance and recovery, have a pH range in which they are most active, and a large drop in pH can substantially alter their ability to function. Changes in pH may also affect calcium channel properties making normal muscle contraction more difficult. Therefore, the goals of exercise recovery should be to:

  1. Restore the body’s acidic state to an alkaline balance.
  2. Replace lost energy nutrients.
  3. Replace mineral electrolytes.
  4. Reduce inflammation.
  5. Allow healing and restoration of torn and damaged tissue.

Atom MoleculeSince all of the recovery processes are facilitated by enzymes, the first step in recovery should be to normalize the pH, which then allows the other processes to proceed normally. There are several buffer systems in the body that are important to this process. Probably the most important physiological buffer is bicarbonate. Bicarbonate normally absorbs hydrogen ions when excess acidity is produced in the body, but bicarbonate can also move the body to a more acidic pH in the case of extreme alkalinity. Proteins in the blood such as hemoglobin and albumin are also important buffers, and phosphate ions are buffers of lesser importance, at least in blood. RE7 helps replenish the essential nutrients needed for recovery. Calcium is a pivotal electrolyte for muscle contraction. Although, calcium is rarely low enough to dangerously impair muscle contractions, it is only because calcium is removed from bone to replenish blood and cellular calcium when reserves become low. One of the often overlooked effects of exercise training is the stimulation of bone formation, resulting in a need for extra calcium. Furthermore, high protein diets, as consumed by many athletes, can increase urinary calcium loss, and as much as 250 mg of calcium can be lost in perspiration in a single exercise session. Therefore, post-exercise recovery is a time when calcium needs are at their highest, but calcium loss it also at its highest. Therefore, one of the most important objectives of RE7 is to restore calcium stores, at least to pre-exercise levels. It is important that calcium replenishment be accomplished in a way that helps restore calcium while also normalizing pH. RE7 provides calcium as calcium hydroxide (directly alkalizing), calcium carbonate (a good source of bicarbonate buffer), and calcium gluconate (a neutral calcium). Therefore, the calcium sources in RE7 promote both optimal calcium status.

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