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