Micronutrition and microbiota: precious allies for sports success!

On April 5th, Etienne Dubois received Emilio Sanchez, specialist in sports nutrition, to talk about micronutrition and microbiota. The goal is to equip you to accompany your clients and especially to better understand this complex subject.


Presentation of the speaker

Emilio Sanchez 

Specialist in sports nutrition and micro-nutrition, strength coach and preparation of bodybuilding athletes


You've probably heard people talk about counting their "macros" and "micros" when discussing their diet. This refers to micronutrients and macronutrients, two broad categories of nutrients that are essential for your body to function as healthily as possible.

Macronutrients and micronutrients are needed in different amounts, and both serve the body in unique ways in sports.

Just because we consume enough macronutrients doesn't mean we don't have deficiencies.

"Too often we stop at proteins, fats, carbohydrates, calories when nutrition is much more than that. Foods contain certainly the macronutrients but also a lot of elements in small doses that include, vitamins, trace elements. All these elements that enter into the composition of food have an important effect on health including protection."

Emilio Sanchez


The nutrients your body needs to support growth and development and regulate body processes can be divided into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in the largest quantities, namely carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Working together, macronutrients and micronutrients provide your body with what it needs to be healthy. A more in-depth look at the roles and functions they support in your body is discussed below.

Like macronutrients, your body does not produce micronutrients in the amounts it needs. Therefore, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential for a healthy body. 31 Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by things like heat, air or acid - which means they can go bad when cooked or exposed to air, making it a little harder to make sure you're getting them in your diet. 32 Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic and are not broken down in this way. This means that your body absorbs the minerals from the soil and water where your food comes from.

The impact of micronutrition and its impact

Each vitamin and mineral has a specific role in your body, and the best way to ensure that you meet all of your body's needs is to eat a healthy and varied diet. Not only are micronutrients crucial to almost every process in your body, but they can also act as antioxidants. In the right quantities, they protect your body from disease and deficiency.

A balanced diet promotes this and improves your chances of getting a variety of minerals and vitamins through your diet into your bloodstream. As they work together, vitamins and minerals have different tasks in the body.

Vitamins : 

  • One of the main functions of vitamins is to help release the energy in the food you eat.
  • Vitamins help build protein and help your cells multiply
  • They make collagen, which helps heal wounds, support blood vessel walls and promote healthy bones and teeth.
  • Vitamins keep your eyes, skin, lungs, digestive tract and nervous system in good condition
  • They build your bones, protect your vision and interact with each other to help your body absorb the vitamins it needs to Protect you from disease


Minerals : 

  • Minerals maintain the proper water balance in your body
  • Promote bone health and stabilize the protein structures you get from the proteins you eat, including those that make up your hair, skin and nails
  • They keep oxygen flowing through your body
  • Minerals help your ability to taste and smell

Balance vs. imbalance

Gut health" describes the function and balance of bacteria in the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Ideally, organs such as the esophagus, stomach and intestines all work together to allow us to eat and digest food without discomfort.

Do we pay enough attention to our gut health?

All food is finally broken down in the intestine into a simple form that can enter the bloodstream and be delivered as nutrients throughout our body. This is only possible with a healthy digestive system. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that keep infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi at bay. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain overall health and well-being.

Poor gut health can lead to inflammation, weight gain, poor digestion, bloating and more, due to an unbalanced microbiota (gut flora). This can be incredibly uncomfortable for everyone and it can often feel like a losing battle. However, all is not lost and if you are experiencing symptoms related to an unbalanced gut, there are a number of gut balancing foods that can greatly improve your symptoms.

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Dieting and diets
vs. micronutrition


When someone adopts a diet in which food intake is significantly reduced, the body does not receive enough nutrients to satisfy hunger or maintain energy levels. This can not only lead to nutritional deficiencies, but can also manifest itself in symptoms such as dehydration, digestive problems, heart problems, muscle cramps, difficulty concentrating and much more.

"The goals of health and the food industry are rarely compatible. On the one hand, they want to sell as much as possible, to consume and on the other hand you are told to eat a balanced diet with unprocessed foods"

Emilio Sanchez

Often not very satiating, ultra-processed foods have a tendency to increase the appetite and have an addictive effect. The Romans had garum. Today, sodium glutamate, sugar, salt, fat or flavouring agents provoke reflexes like the can of peanuts that you finish...

The role of intuitive eating

Ultra-processed foods are generally nutritionally poor, and consuming them in excess promotes overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, depression, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Foods can be classified into four main categories, ranging from products with little or no processing, to the most processed products: Ultra-Processed Foods.

The latter are products resulting from a long process of recombination of foods and additives, some of which are used almost exclusively by the food industry. They are therefore inexpensive and easy to consume. Examples of ultra-processed foods are breakfast cereals, sodas, cookies...


Nutrients can be separated into two distinct categories:

Macronutriments :

  • Protein (amino acids)
  • Fat (saturated fat, trans fat, unsaturated fat)
  • Carbohydrates (sugar, starch, fiber)
  • Water


Micronutriments :

  • Minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium, etc.)
  • Vitamins (Vitamins B, C, A, D, E, K)
  • Antioxidants

Management of micronutrition

We have complicated mechanisms in our bodies and brains that are supposed to regulate energy balance (how much we eat and how much we burn) that, until very recently in evolutionary history, worked to keep us at a healthy weight.

Even athletes who do not suffer from uncomfortable symptoms can be deficient in certain essential nutrients. Iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium are among the most common nutritional deficiencies and can be easily identified by a blood test for nutritional deficiencies. Modifying your diet or adding supplements is an easy way to correct deficiencies and achieve optimal health.

Nutritional tests can be used to assess the levels of these macronutrients and micronutrients in the blood. Test results can be compared to a reference range of normal values and help physicians diagnose nutritional deficiencies.


Camille Boutin

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