Should athletes take extra vitamins and minerals?

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Nutrition Blog

For a variety of activities in the body, vitamins and minerals are crucial. For example, turning food into energy and keeping bones healthy. These essential elements also may affect how well the body accomplishes aspects.

There are no official guidelines for vitamin recommendations specific to athletes at the moment. This is even though some studies suggest that high activity levels in athletes may increase their vitamin needs. Meet with a registered dietitian and/or nutritionist for more individualised nutrition needs. This person should specialise in sports nutrition to help determine your vitamin and mineral needs.

While vitamin and mineral supplements may not enhance your performance, a deficiency in these substances is likely is to damage it. Here’s an assessment of some important nutrients and their food so that you can keep at the top of your game.

Vitamins and Minerals for Athletes


Thiamin is important to several metabolic pathways. For example, the breakdown of carbohydrates and branched-chain amino acids.

Good sources of thiamin include:

  • Whole or fortified grain products,
  • Pork,
  • Peanuts, and
  • Black beans.


Having too little or too much niacin can result in unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. For example,  such as diarrhea, dementia, rashes and liver damage. Choose food sources before supplements.

There are many good sources of niacin, such as:

  • Poultry,
  • Peanuts,
  • Fish,
  • Brown rice, and
  • Whole grains

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is essential to the breaking down of foods. In particular this applies to carbohydrates. It is involved in nearly 100 metabolic pathways.

Fantastic sources of vitamin b6 include:

  • Poultry,
  • Pistachios,
  • Chickpeas,
  • Lentils,
  • Pork,
  • Bananas, and
  • Tuna.

Performance Enhancement

The following vitamins and minerals often are taken for by athletes who want to enhance their performance. Alternatively, they can make up for missed nutrients of a restricted diet. Try focusing on food sources first as a high doses of some supplements may result in side effects such as constipation, bone damage and kidney stones.

Vitamin B12

B12 is found only in animal products. This puts vegan and vegetarian athletes at risk for a deficiency. Foods which are fortified include breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast and plant-based meat alternatives. These provide vitamin B12. Be sure to read the food label as not all of these foods are fortified. Taking a B12 supplement may also be needed. However, check with a health-care provider first.

Fabulous sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Seafood,
  • Meats,
  • Milk and cheese,
  • Eggs, and
  • Fortified breakfast cereals.

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Iron is essential for oxygen transportation which travels in blood throughout the body. If you do not have enough iron in your body, this may cause fatigue and impact physical performance. Iron losses or decreased absorption may be caused by exercise.

Amazing sources of iron include:

  • Clams,
  • Turkey breasts,
  • Fortified breakfast cereals,
  • Beef,
  • Beans,
  • Spinach, and
  • Oats

Vitamin A

Well-known for its role in promoting eyesight, vitamin A also may act as an antioxidant. This is particularly during endurance training. Excess amounts from supplements can have toxic effects, though, so check with a health care provider before taking.

Good sources of vitamin A include:

  • Sweet potato,
  • Carrots,
  • Pumpkin,
  • Collard greens,
  • Spinach, and
  • Cheese

Bone Health

Physical activity which is intensive puts stress on bones and joints. Some vitamins and minerals promote bone health.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be absorbed from exposure to sunlight. However, an individual’s weight, geographic location and skin colour all can affect how well vitamin D is absorbed from ultraviolet light.

Incredible sources of vitamin D include:

  • Fortified milk and soymilk,
  • Cod-liver oil,
  • Seafood, and
  • Eggs


It is important to note that Calcium is vital for nerve functionning and the release of hormones. This in addition to bone health. Amazing sources of calcium include:

  • Milk,
  • Cheese,
  • Fortified orange juice and soymilk, in addition to
  • Collard greens

Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy

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