Published: 05/31/2010 - Updated: 08/15/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei3 Comments
Vitamins are organic substances necessary for life. The vast majority of vitamins are essential nutrients and cannot be synthesized by the body. They are in very small amounts in all natural foods and we obtain from these or specialized supplements. It should be clear that vitamins are no substitute for meals, and that vitamins are no substitute for the proteins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates … is completely erroneous idea that if you take vitamins and stop eating, you can maintain good health.
Vitamin requirements of an athlete
Let us emphasize that vitamins play an essential role in the smooth functioning of all vital functions. Therefore, it is obvious that an athlete should ensure proper supply of vitamins in the diet to maintain optimum fitness.
It is generally recognized that if an athlete follows a balanced diet should not be deficient in any vitamins. Medical studies show that vitamins do not increase physical performance, i.e., taking vitamins will not improve performance.
Another aspect is if the athlete follows an irregular diet, unbalanced or for example, is a diet following a weight control system. An athlete may have deficiencies of vitamins and therefore experience a decrease in physical performance, fatigue, etc. Therefore, before this type of situation, we recommend to the athlete to supplement the diet with a multi-vitamin product.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins are classified into two main groups: fat soluble vitamins, which comprise vitamins A, D and E, and water-soluble vitamins, which belong for example, all group B and C.
Fat-soluble vitamins, as its name implies, are soluble in fat. They are absorbed in the small intestine with dietary fat. These vitamins are stored in the body and not excreted in the urine.
Vitamin A: Also called retinol. This vitamin is found mainly in liver, milk and dairy products and egg yolk. In the form of beta carotene found in yellow or green vegetables. Involved in the maintenance and repair of body tissues and bone growth. Promotes resistance to infection and is absolutely necessary for night vision.
Vitamin D: is also called cholecalciferol. This vitamin is found primarily in milk and dairy products, egg yolk, liver, fish and cod liver oil. Among its main functions is stressed that promotes growth and bone mineralization, increases calcium absorption. The sun is essential for the production of vitamin D. its deficiency causes rickets by deformation of the bones in children.
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Vitamin E: also known as tocopherol. This vitamin is mainly found in olive oil in the seeds of cereals such as wheat germ, seeds, vegetables, leafy greens, egg yolks, milk and its derivatives. One of its main functions is to serve as an antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals. It is also called the fertility vitamin. It is also essential for maintaining normal muscle development and health of nerve tissue.
Vitamin K: is found in green leaf vegetables, egg yolk and liver. It’s very important in blood clotting. Its lack causes internal and external bleeding.
Contrary to what happens to the fat soluble vitamins, they are not stored in the body, except the B12. The daily excess is removed, which makes it practically requires a daily intake of them. The most important vitamins in this group are:
Vitamin B1: is mainly found in cereals, legumes, fruits, liver, shellfish and yeast. Large amounts of this vitamin is lost during cooking and refined cereals. It is an important vitamin for athletes and involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It promotes the production of energy and also protects nerve tissue.
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Vitamin B2: This vitamin is found in liver, meat, dairy, eggs, whole grains. Cooking does not alter the vitamin, but is destroyed when exposed to light. Contributes to the formation of antibodies and red blood cells. Processes involved in energy production.
Vitamin B6: is found in liver, meat, fish, dairy, fruits, vegetables, bread and grains. Cooking destroys this vitamin, as well as exposure to ultraviolet rays. It is an important vitamin for athletes and directly involved in the metabolism of proteins and fats. For this reason, it is important that all protein-based supplements are fortified with vitamin B6.
Vitamin B12: This vitamin is present in liver, fish, shellfish and eggs. Involved in the maturation of red blood cells, is involved in cell metabolism, promotes iron absorption and is involved in the formation of genetic material.
Vitamin C: is present in citrus fruits, strawberries, melon, kiwi, tomatoes and cabbages. One of its main functions is due to its antioxidant capacity, which makes it an important vitamin for athletes, especially those doing endurance sports or high duration. Vitamin C is also active in the formation of collagen, bones, teeth and red cells. Promotes resistance to infection and iron absorption.
Niacin: also known as nicotinamide or vitamin B3. It is mainly found in brewer's yeast, meat, fish, fungi, cereals and legumes. It is mostly destroyed during cooking. Involved in the formation of sex hormones and glycogen synthesis.
Biotin: This vitamin is present in the liver, kidneys, milk, eggs, bananas, salad greens and mushrooms. Mainly involved in the formation of fatty acids and the mechanisms of energy production.
Pantothenic acid: Found in meat, cereals, liver, eggs and vegetables. Cooking also destroys much of the vitamin. This enzyme is very important because the metabolic processes involved in energy procurement.
Folic Acid: is present in raw meat, milk, spinach, green salad and fruit. It has a role in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters and formation of genetic material.
Multivitamin: This type of product must contain all the vitamins necessary for the proper functioning of the body. The daily dose that we recommend should be adjusted to the daily amount recommended by experts.
There are products on the market that make a balanced multivitamin and can be found in powder or tablet form.
Vitamin C: The daily amount of vitamin needed for an adult is 60 mg, although there are situations in which they manifest state of vitamin C, such as smoking, hormonal contraceptive use, and malnutrition, or patients under dietary regimes. Also, the consumption of vitamin C is recommended for situations common cold.
Athletes have a higher need for vitamin C that people who are at rest. It is estimated that 500 mg / day is sufficient to maintain optimal levels of medium training periods. During periods of intensive exercise, helps prevent cramps and aches.
The acidic nature, intrinsic vitamin C can cause stomach discomfort, for that reason, most of the products on the market have been improved, so the acidity has been lowered to a reasonable level. Furthermore, the presence of calcium enhances the absorption of this vitamin.
B Complex: B complex vitamins are directly related to the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. Because athletes have a higher requirement for these nutrients, it is logical that may have higher requirements for vitamin B complex.
Beta-carotene: Beta carotene is the main carotenoid used as a contribution of vitamin A. Some products provide a natural source of beta carotene, along with vitamin E and grape seed polyphenols, for example. These combinations have a significant antioxidant power as recommended for athletes.
Now, you know all you need to know about vitamins and supplements. It remains to look for a product that is ideal for your needs!
Source: GSN Nutrition
About the author
I?m thinking about buying a multivitamin as I?m practicing more exercise than before and my doctor recommended me to find a product to meet the quantity, I need more vitamin c which I?m thinking on having in a fresh orange juice daily, because I?m getting sick very often and surely it?s because the lack of this vitamin.
great summary of the vitamins we need, that is the athletes is even bigger for the rapid reconvering they need…
I’ve thought in doing more sports but I haven’t got the time for doing so…..
It is good to know anyway
Fantastic article!! I have been an athlete for years, but the past few years I haven’t been training seriously or competing. Just a few months ago I started training again for a race in March, and I’m realizing just how taxing it is on the body. I am eating more, and sleeping a LOT more. It’s exciting, and I just love reading how all these vitamins take a part in it all!