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This paper reviews information pertaining to zinc, copper, chromium, and selenium requirements of athletes. Exercise increases zinc loss from the body, and dietary intake for some athletes, especially females, may be inadequate. Blood copper levels are altered by exercise, but there is no information to suggest that copper ingestion or status is compromised in athletes. Studies have shown that urinary chromium excretion is increased by exercise, but whether this leads to an increased requirement is still unknown. There is concern that athletes may not ingest sufficient quantities of chromium; however, there are inadequate data to confirm this. The limited data that exist show that athletes do not have altered selenium status. There is no conclusive evidence that supplementation with any of these trace minerals will enhance performance. A diet containing foods rich in micronutrients is recommended. However, for those athletes concerned that their diets may not be sufficient, a multivitamin/ mineral supplement containing no more than the RDA may be advised.
P.M. Clarkson is with the Department of Exercise Science, Boyden Building, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. E.M. Haymes is with the Department of Nutrition, Food, and Movement Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2033.