These are two selections from two articles I have been writing so forgive the spelling mistakes
They can serve as general advice and I’d also welcome any discussion. I’ve cut some sections of the articles out as some of the research is in it’s infancy so far.
Particularly with regard to some of the neuro-chemistry, some ideas I have I can’t yet stand over and are speculative.
This is also just the sections with regard to Vitamins and Minerals so bear that in mind the holistic view must always be considered.
Minerals and Vitamins for Optimum Athletic Performance
Vitamins are naturally occurring compounds that are essential for human development, but as unlike the common perception, they are not a magic bullet. These vitamins are used only in minute amounts. The use of vitamins is exaggerated in today’s diet. A proper healthy diet over a course of a week will supply enough vitamins for any active person. The key word here is ‘proper’. The diet needs to include good quality foods, vegetables and fruits, the better the source and the freer from pesticides the better the quality of vitamins and minerals available for absorption.
Minerals are unlike Vitamins inorganic and are responsible for such things as tissues regeneration and chemical reactions at a cellular level. Metals are regarded as minerals and of course while in large doses are toxic, in smaller levels are critical for many important tasks, not all of which are fully understood. There is growing evidence to suggest that metals may have a major bearing on the rate of healing in damaged ligaments and other tissues.
Metals are also crucial in certain areas of hormone generation. Another crucial mineral, calcium can be of immense importance to athletes, especially protein levels and muscle density as bone acts as a storage system for many building materials. With the growing incidences of bone disorders in female athletes, proper adherence to balanced diets with appropriate levels of calcium while at a training and competing age is absolutely critical to offset disease in later life. Low iron levels can also cause extreme and debilitating fatigue and is very common among younger female athletes.
The problems of supplementation arise when an athlete is unable to maintain a proper balanced diet. A proper balanced and varied diet will provide an athlete with all the vitamins and minerals they need. Vitamins are critical in the fight against free-radicals – which are released as the body undergoes training stresses and the antioxidant properties are only now becoming properly understood…
Just a number of brief points on multi-vitamins.
• Many of the commercial brands on the market provide a percentage of the RDA – Recommended Daily Amount. Remember the RDA is a figure decided on for the average person, firstly some time ago and secondly certainly not under the same stress as an athlete holding down a full-time job while training everyday. In some cases athletes can become mineral deficient in a matter of weeks while under severe training stress.
• Secondly, while many brands proclaim to provide proper vitamins profiles the exact nature and most important - the type of vitamin is very important.
• Taking extra quantities of multi-vitamins will offer no further benefit if the appropriate level has been achieved through a proper and balanced diet.
• Many Vitamins compete for receptors in the body and in some cases if consumed with another are not absorbed at all. Some vitamins need to be consumed at different times to avoid competition and maximise absorption.
• Many multivitamins also need to be consumed only with certain foods and liquids to permit absorption.
• Some vitamins can be more effective at certain times in the athletes circadian rhythm and can maximise performance in these instances.
Multi Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation
Do we need to supplement our diet with additional Vitamins and minerals?
The ideal answer is no – the right answer is yes.
If our diet is properly balanced and comprehensive the majority of people would not need to supplement their diet – this is not the case for the majority of people.
There are a number of key things that we need to consider with regard to vitamins and minerals-
Those people who have particular demands on their lifestyle such as athletes where the continuous demands on the body’s store of minerals and vitamins is above that of the normal person.
Where the lifestyle of the person concerned prevents the following of a proper diet. In many cases those travelling and on the move are forced to eat a diet that does not contain a wide enough and balanced range of vitamins and minerals. This is very often the case for athletes travelling to training camps and competition as well as those juggling jobs or studies.
Evan many simply observing a standard western diet do not gain proper nutrition and if current trends continue then vitamin and mineral supplementation may be a necessary staple of the western diet.
Neurotrition is the use of diet and dietary supplementation to maximise the performance of an athlete. Restricting the brain from receiving its proper nutrition can be extremely detrimental to athletic performance. Vitamins and Minerals are essential for performance, but when combined with other nutrients their impact on neurotransmitter production is very effective. Chromium, manganese, B Vitamins and other minerals for example can have a very big impact on the mood and neural ability of the athlete to recall, concentrate and perform at an optimum level. The combined effect along with amino acids and other nutrients is extremely important for optimum performance.
Restoration and Relaxation
B12 can be very helpful in encouraging the athlete to relax and sleep. Manganese, B6 and zinc also help the brain manage stress and along with vitamin E research suggests may contribute to alleviating seizures. Magnesium with B6 has been used to supplement treatments of high cholesterol. Vitamin D needs sun exposure to promote bone regeneration and health, becoming more critical for many female athletes.
In terms of neural alertness the neuro-transmitter L-phenylalanine is critical in terms of mood management, pain relief and anti-depression. Vitamins such as iron, copper, niacin, Tyrosine, Vitamin C and the B-complex are needed to produce and manage this critical neurotransmitter. Again this is just one example of how a poor diet can unbalance an athletes neuro-stasis or on the other hand can maximise the mental alertness of the athlete.
Key Points to understand when choosing a Multi-Vitamin or Mineral
Beta Carotene is not Vitamin A but is converted to Vitamin A within the body
Chelates are aminos which minerals are attached to
In some cases the amount of mineral available is therefore quite small once released from the chelate.
Fillers and Binders are used to bulk the powders and allow them to be bound into tablets or granules for capsules.
Citrate Minerals are quite well absorbed
Almost all companies use fillers and binders, more reputable ones will list them.
Some tablets can be over-coated and this can slow or even prevent absorption
Retinol is pure Vitamin A and Beta Carotene measured in comparison to it
In these cases the athlete needs to maintain good digestive and stomach health in order to maximise use of the supplement.
Key Points for Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation
Using a good wide ranging multivitamin covers many of the nutritional foundations
The multi-vitamin should have:
Wide range of B-Vitmain complex
Relatively large dose of Vitamin C
Suggested Additional Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation
Suggested Additional Vitamin C. There has been much research to suggest that additional or higher doses of Vitamin C may be very beneficial for many illnesses. Minimum 1gram.
Additional Calcium may be very beneficial for the production and maintenance of bone density, particularly in younger females. Avoidance of many fizzy or carbonated drinks also assists.
Vitamin A along with C and E are invaluable anti-oxidants and may be very beneficial for encouraging recovery post exercise.
These are simply general guidelines and a more accurate blood and urine-based assessment will determine a better profile for Vitamin and Mineral supplementation. However this will offer a good guideline for a supplementation program for optimum athletic performance…