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Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Exercisers

  • Publish Date : 2009/07/26 - (Rev. 2018/03/15)
  • Author : Dr Jenny Tylee


When athletes have vitamin and mineral deficiencies their performance will be compromised.

Main Document

Should Exercisers Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

On the question of should athletes take supplements there is some research on male athletes, but there is virtually nothing related to recreational exercise or active older adults or women athletes.

When athletes have vitamin and mineral deficiencies their performance will be compromised. For example deficiencies of vitamins B1, B2 B6 or C will reduce endurance performance. However, in addition to compromising performance there can be an adverse impact on general health. This article provides some guidelines on amount of vitamin and minerals that an athlete will need.

Beyond athletic performance what can vitamins and mineral do for athletes

Vitamin and mineral supplements:

Boost immune function, speed recovery from illness and injury and help to prevent disease and infection.

Exercise generates additional stress on the body through the increased oxygen consumption, metabolism and mechanical processes, such as, joint compression and trauma. This state can be held in check by anti-oxidant nutrients.

Exercise also has an impact on mineral status. For example:

Chromium deficiencies are possible in athletes who train strenuously.

Iodine, iron, zinc, and other trace minerals are lost during sweating.

Calcium intakes are typically low in athlete's diets and calcium is needed for muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission and supplementation may be needed to achieve consistent calcium intakes.

An active adult who undertakes the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day will consume nutrients in the process of undertaking their activities. This however, probably doesn't place an additional strain on the nutrients required by the body, especially if you take vitamin and mineral supplements anyway.

Athletes' vitamin and mineral requirements

Hard training and competition places special demands on an athlete's body. A sound diet will be the foundation of providing the nutrients needed.

The following are the suggested level of vitamin and mineral intake:

  • Vitamin A (carotene) - recommended intake 5000 IU per day
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - recommended intake 50 mg per day
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - recommended intake 15 mg per day
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) - recommended intake 25 mg per day
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) - recommended intake 10 mg per day
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - recommended intake 15 mg per day
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) - recommended intake 6 mcg per day
  • Biotin - recommended intake 500 mcg per day
  • Folic acid - recommended intake 1 mg per day
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) - recommended intake 3000 mg per day
  • Vitamin D - recommended intake 600 IU per day
  • Vitamin E - recommended intake 1200 IU per day
  • Vitamin K - recommended intake 125 mcg per day
  • Calcium - recommended intake 1000 mg per day
  • Chromium - recommended intake 300 mcg per day
  • Copper - recommended intake 3 mg per day
  • Iodine - recommended intake 150 mcg per day
  • Iron - recommended intake 30 mg per day
  • Magnesium - recommended intake 500 mg per day
  • Manganese - recommended intake 5 mg per day
  • Phosphorous - recommended intake 1000 mg per day
  • Selenium - recommended intake 150 mcg per day
  • Zinc - recommended intake 25 mg per day

This level of intake can generally be achieved by eating a good diet and taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement once or twice per day with meals. Should any particular deficiency be present this may need additional supplementation.


Burke, E.R 1999, What Olympic Athletes Eat www.musculardevelopment.com/oct99/nutperformance.html

Grandjean, A. C.1989, Macronutrient Intake of US Athletes Compared to the General Population and Recommendations for Male Athletes. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 49.

Grandjean, A. C. & Ruud, J. S. 1994, Olympic Athletes, In Wolinsky, I. & Hickson, J. F. eds. Nutrition in Exercise and Sport. Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press.

Kirsch, K. A. & von Ameln, H. 1981, Feeding Patterns of Endurance Athletes. Eur. J. of Appl. Phys. 47.

Saris, W. H. M., et al. 1989, Study on Food Intake and Energy Expenditure During Extreme Sustained Exercise: The Tour de France. Int. J. Sports Med.

Somer, E. 2003, Nutrition for Women. Henry Holt and company.

Dr Jenny Tylee is an experienced health professional who is passionate about health and wellbeing. She believes that health is not just absence of disease and seeks to actively promote vitality and wellness through empowering others. She encourages people to improve their health by quitting smoking, cleansing their body, taking essential vitamin and mineral supplements and many other methods, including herbal remedies and creative visualization. Visit Dr Jenny's blog and join her newsletter for more quality information - www.healthproductssite.com

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