Athletes need carbohydrates, which nourish muscles, and amino acids, proteins, which help build muscle tissue. How important are vitamins and minerals to them? Are complexes for athletes different from preparations for ordinary people?
Vitamins are biochemical substances that are needed in small amounts in order to be healthy and be successful in sport. The need for vitamins is measured in milligrams or even micrograms. That’s why nutritionists call fats, carbohydrates and proteins macronutrients and vitamins and minerals micronutrients.
Vitamins are vital, because the body cannot synthesize them on its own, it has to get them from food. However, during intensive workouts vitamins alone might not be enough, so it is necessary to take supplements.
Vitamins are classified according to their solubility
Fat-soluble ones are vitamins A, D, E and K. Chemically they are insoluble and do not mix in water, but they are fat soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins accumulate and can be stored in the body for a long time.
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and a complex of eight B vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, B6, niacin, folic acid, B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. These nutrients are readily soluble or mixed in water. Being water-soluble, they are also usually eliminated from the body very quickly.
Minerals are substances that are naturally found in the earth’s crust and can only be obtained from what you eat and drink. Essential minerals have 2 subclasses:
- Macronutrients, which are needed in amounts of 100mg or more – sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
- Micronutrients are needed in smaller amounts, usually less than 20 mg per day. Micronutrients include iron, zinc, copper, selenium and chromium.
They do not provide calories, but they are very important
Contrary to popular belief, vitamins and minerals do not provide energy, but they do play a key role in metabolising carbohydrates and fats, which are the main fuel for muscles during exercise. They are also involved in repairing and building muscle protein in response to increased exercise.
Metabolic processes such as energy metabolism and protein synthesis are controlled by biochemical regulators known as metabolic enzymes. Co-enzymes or cofactors are needed for normal functioning of these enzymes.
Many B vitamins serve as cofactors for metabolic enzymes. If there is a sufficient intake of B vitamins, exercise will be effective. But if there is a deficiency of any micronutrient, there can be problems with strength and endurance. Per evitare problemi, gli atleti usano Testosterone Enanthate https://itsteroids.it/categorie/iniezione-di-steroidi/testosterone/testosterone-enanthato/ per ripristinare i micronutrienti.
Do athletes need special complexes?
There is no definite answer to this question. Although some studies suggest that high levels of activity in athletes may increase the need for vitamins, there are currently no official guidelines or recommendations for the selection of vitamins for athletes.
In professional sport, athletes’ needs are monitored by a physician and vitamin and mineral supplements are individually selected, sometimes with intravenous or intramuscular administration, to enhance performance.
People who play recreational sports should see a nutritionist who specialises in sports nutrition. A nutritionist can help you determine your need for vitamins and minerals and choose a multivitamin complex.
What do athletes need?
While vitamin and mineral supplements cannot improve performance, deficiencies can be detrimental to athletes. It is important to know which substances are particularly important and which ones need to be replenished in full.
Vitamins are essential for metabolism. They help break down food from large nutrients like carbohydrates and fatty acids into smaller units, which the body can use to turn food into fuel.
Vitamin B1 is important for several metabolic pathways, such as the breakdown of carbohydrates and branched-chain amino acids. Good sources of thiamine are whole or fortified cereals, pork, peanuts and black beans.
Insufficient or excessive niacin can lead to unpleasant and even dangerous side effects such as diarrhoea, dementia, rashes, and liver damage. Athletes should prefer dietary sources of this vitamin to supplements. Good sources include poultry, peanuts, fish, brown rice and whole grains.
Pyridoxine is involved in nearly 100 metabolic pathways. Vitamin B6 is essential for the breakdown of food, especially carbohydrates.
- bananas and tuna.
The following vitamins and minerals are often used to enhance performance or make up for nutritional deficiencies in a restricted diet. Try to focus on food sources first, as high doses of some supplements can lead to side effects such as constipation, bone damage and kidney stones.
Cyanocobalamin is only found in animal products, so vegetarians and vegans are at risk of deficiency. Enriched foods, including breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast and meat products provide vitamin B12. People who have given up meat may need to take a B12 supplement, but consult your doctor first. Good sources: seafood, meat, milk and cheese, eggs and breakfast cereals
This mineral is essential for transporting oxygen with blood throughout the body. Lack of iron in the body can cause fatigue and affect physical performance. Exercise may lead to some loss of iron or reduced absorption.
Good sources: shellfish, turkey breast, fortified breakfast cereals, beef, beans, spinach and oats
Retinol is well known for its role in vision formation. But vitamin A can also act as an antioxidant, especially during endurance training. Excessive amounts of supplements can have toxic effects, so consult your doctor before taking them.
Good sources: sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, greens, spinach and cheese
Running, jumping and acrobatics are intense physical activities that put strain on bones and joints. Certain vitamins and minerals contribute to bone health.
Colecalciferol can be absorbed by sunlight, but a person’s weight, geographical location and skin colour may affect how well vitamin D is synthesised by ultraviolet irradiation.
Good sources: fortified milk and soya milk, fish oil, seafood and eggs
In addition to bone health, calcium is important for nerve function and hormone secretion.
Good sources: Milk, cheese, fortified orange juice, and soy milk and herbs
Sodium and chloride are two essential minerals which are often found together in the form of table salt. They also often appear in sports drinks.
A traditional diet usually provides enough sodium to prevent salt deficiency, but athletes who sweat out four litres or more a day are at increased risk of sodium depletion. Weighing yourself before and after exercise and other activities can help determine how much fluid you are losing, but it is better to maintain a balance of water and salt throughout your activities.