Do you ever wonder if you should be taking vitamin supplements to support your training and performance? Although a highly trained athlete’s vitamin needs may be increased due to their high-intensity activities, a well-balanced diet should be able to cover the vitamins needs of the general population and actually, in most cases, the same goes for athletes.
In general, supplements should only be used if an athlete’s diet is unable to maintain an adequate vitamin status. However, deficiencies in specific vitamins can be harmful to runners and could be the reason they aren’t reaching the next level or getting the best results. Before answering the question “should all runners take extra vitamins” here’s a lowdown on the most important vitamins you need to exceed yourself.
(thiamin, riboflavin, B6, niacin, biotin and pantothenic acid, folic acid, B12)
These are very important vitamins as they are involved in the production of energy and repairing/maintaining muscle tissue and nervous function.
Severe deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folic acid can lead to anemia and a decrease in endurance performance. Vegan athletes are likely to be at higher risk from suboptimal intake of vitamin B12 and supplementation is recommended.
Supplementation of acid folic, when values are not adequate, can protect athletes from cardiovascular complications that can occur during training and competition.
(C, E, and A)
Antioxidant vitamins are important for an adequate immune function and participate in the reduction in the oxidative stress caused by exercise that can damage muscle proteins and contribute to muscle fatigue.
Supplementation with antioxidant vitamins seems to be effective in reducing the oxidative stress and could be justified especially in athletes performing vigorous exercise, such as marathons. An optimal value seems to be 500-100mg/day of vitamin C , however, chronic use may have adverse effects therefore care must be taken to ensure a safe dosage.
This vitamin is important for calcium and potassium homeostasis, and so an inadequate consumption can increase bone fracture susceptibility and impair immune function.
Studies have found that the general population, including athletes, do not meet the recommendations for this vitamin (600 IU-800IU). This could come down to insufficient exposure to sunlight, which is the main source of vitamin D. So, for those who live in northern countries which don’t see much sunlight in winter, for example, supplementation is crucial to meet recommendations.