Do Endurance Athletes Need Vitamins and Nutrients To Perform?

WHILE VITAMINS DO NOT PROVIDE ENERGY, THEY ARE CRUCIAL FOR TURNING FOOD INTO ENERGY AND FOR SUPPORTING CRITICAL BODILY FUNCTIONS USED DURING AND AFTER EXERCISE.

So while vitamins will not enhance your performance by giving you an immediate energy boost, a shortage or deficiency in vitamins and minerals could reduce the likelihood that you can continue performing at high levels for extended periods.

THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES, PROPER NUTRIENTS IN THE BODY WILL ALLOW ATHLETES TO PERFORM BODILY FUNCTIONS NECESSARY DURING EXERCISE.

According to the International Sports Science Association, pre-exercise, exercise, and post-exercise carbohydrate ingestion needs to include fluid and mineral requirements. 

Vitamins Are Critical For Athletes To Bodily Functions That Turn Food Into Energy

Its the vitamins and minerals in the body that help process this food into energy used during exercise.  Eatright.org lists some of the functions of vitamins on its website.  Here are few:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine helps breakdown carbohydrates and proteins for energy. Taking more than the DRI does not appear to enhance performance.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin is integral to energy production. It also plays a role in red blood cell formation.
  • Niacin: supports both anaerobic and aerobic performance. Too much or too little niacin can shift your body's use of energy from fat to carbohydrates or vice versa; this might affect performance.
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is involved in over 100 metabolic reactions in your body, including the production of energy and hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells.
  • Vitamin B12: Because of its role in red blood cell formation, B12 is crucial for getting oxygen to tissues. B12 is only found in animal products, putting vegan and vegetarian athletes at risk for anemia. Such groups should try to get as much B12 from food as possible. Taking a B12 supplement or eating B12-fortified foods also may be needed.

During long bouts of exercise, the effects of perspiration can lead to deficiencies in essential minerals as these minerals dissolve in sweat excreted from the body. According to Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Nina Anderson,"essential minerals are necessary for nerve and muscle function, body-fluid balance, and other critical processes that keep you alive and well. They are particles that can carry an electrical charge and are present in blood, plasma, urine, and other fluids. They function to keep neural synaptic processes functioning in the brain and nerve transmissions operating throughout the body."

MINERAL REPLACEMENT BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL TO HELPING RESTORE PROPER BLOOD VOLUME AND BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS, AND IS NECESSARY FOR ENZYMATIC REACTIONS THAT PROMOTE PROPER BLOOD VOLUME.

Without them the quality of performance during long-term or explosive short-term exercise decreases.

Mineral depletion leads to diminished short term and long term performance

Here are a few of the essential minerals critical for athletes, as listed in "Fueling For Peak Performance", by Nina Anderson.

Magnesium: Not only does magnesium facilitate 300 fundamental enzymatic reactions, it also functions in the activation of amino-acids and plays a key role in nerve transmissions and immune system operation. This essential mineral enjoys a reciprocal relationship with calcium. In our muscles, calcium stimulates muscle fibers to tense up and contract whereas magnesium encourages the muscle fibers to loosen up and relax. Deficiencies result in cramps, irritability, or twitching. Supplemental calcium and magnesium in a 1:1 ratio are important to guard against this attack on our muscles.

Potassium: Potassium performs countless vital functions in the body supporting the nervous system, aiding in digestion, and providing the electrolyte charge to the cells. Most of the total body potassium is found in muscle tissue. Because of its link with the metabolizing, oxygen-consuming part of the body, a decline in total body potassium is usually interpreted as a loss of muscle mass. This is not necessarily the case, but muscle mass loss is the result of a catabolic protein wasting condition which reduces the total cell mass of the body. Excess stress during exercise without proper nutrient components can facilitate this wasting condition. 

Sodium: Sodium acts together with potassium to maintain proper body water distribution and blood pressure, therefore being a primary ingredient neces-sary for rehydration. It is also important in maintaining the proper pH balance and to facilitate the transmission of nerve impulses. People with pronounced losses of sodium through heavy perspiration or diarrhea may experience decreased blood volume and a fall in blood pressure that could result in shock.

Zinc: Zinc is vital to the function of 90 enzymes that regulate dozens of bodily processes. It supports the immune system and fights infection, assists in chelating heavy metals from the body, improves vision, sexual potency and enhances the senses. Zinc also aids in cell respiration, bone development and growth, wound healing, and the regulation of heart rate and blood pressure. Together with copper is crucial to the formation of connective tissues and the protein fibers found in bone, cartilage, ligaments, dental tissues and skin. 

Much has been written on the subject of vitamins and minerals supplements for athletes, but sometimes it is best to listen to athletes themselves who have followed a routine of daily vitamin and mineral supplementation.  

After following a pre-, during-, and post-workout system over 30 days, professionals and amateurs have seen a beneficial impact to their training, often sighting the body's ability to RECOVER faster between workouts.  Recently, husband and wife triathletes Jess and Davey have commented, Jess "feels less sore after her workouts and that she don’t have the usual post-workout dehydration headaches", while Davey said "during an hour of intervals at the track and a 2 1/2 hour bike/run brick, I felt like I never hit the wall and that I wake up energized and ready for my next triathlon workout".  

Many other athletes have commented on the benefits to training when incorporating a daily system of nutrient replacement. Read their comments and accounts here.  At EnduroPacks, we offer the highest quality all-natural daily system of vitamins and minerals for endurance athletes. Our system contains a 30-day supply of 4 essential products: a Liquid Multivitamin, Concentrated Electrolyte Spray, Essential Amino Recovery Patch, and the L-Glutamine Recovery Complex. EnduroPacks products are GLUTEN-FREE, manufactured in the USA, contain no GMOs, and are 100% vegetarian. Visit our site at www.enduropacks.com.

Or request a copy of "Fueling For Peak Performance", by Nina Anderson, write us at info@enduropacks.com.