The need to supplement your diet will depend upon many factors and the most important aspect is getting the balance right. In order to decide which ones to take and what quantities to take them in, we really need to have a full lifestyle assessment. Another thing to understand about taking any kind of supplement not prescribed by a doctor is that the companies selling the products are exactly that; companies selling products. They may make amazing claims of success but not all are true. Let us ask a few questions.
Vitamins & Minerals
How much do I need to take?
Every person will have a different nutritional requirement. This will depend upon many factors including sex, age, levels of physical activity, lifestyle habits and your environment. We may generalize somewhat and have estimations of quantities. If you want a truly accurate assessment then you can undergo testing or do a detailed questionnaire.
So what is RDA?
These have been put in place by the EU and apply to the average adult. One thing to remember is that RDA’s are; they represent the minimum requirement and are not the optimum nutritional requirement for an athlete or individual. They may vary hugely to gain optimum performance.
Can I get all the vitamins and minerals from my food?
We generally stick with the same diet, week in week out. The problem with this is that if we are not getting sufficient supply of one nutrient, this deficiency will continue. This would also be fine if we ate a very balanced diet but most of us do not. Vitamin & mineral loss occurs during the processing of foods and in its cooking therefore we are losing a lot of nutritional value and end up with just calories. Exercise will also increase your requirement for vitamins and minerals. So although it is possible, getting the optimum amount is not realistic. For example; RDA of Vitamin C is 60mg but for optimum performance 1000mg is recommended – that’s about 20 oranges.
Can Vitamins & Minerals improve performance?
One must remember that vitamins and minerals are involved in fluid balance, muscle contraction, energy production, nerve function, enzyme secretion, for carrying oxygen and hormone production. So we can see that all of these functions will have a direct influence on performance.
Increased physical activities deplete vitamins and minerals, so it is advisable to have an assessment and take some supplements. If an athlete has a deficiency, is placing demands upon their body or is lacking in a certain nutrient then yes there is valid science that proves vitamins and minerals will enhance performance.
Can high doses be harmful?
Please take care to follow the instructions on the label and there should not be any problems. Vitamins fall into 2 classes; Fat Soluble and Water Soluble. Our bodies store excess fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A and D. So taking these in excess can cause harm. Excess’s in water soluble vitamins tend to be eliminated in the urine. Taking huge doses of any vitamin or mineral is not recommended.
What should I take?
Best practice here is to take a good multivitamin. It should contain about 23 vitamins and minerals and the amounts should be between 100% and 1000% of the RDA’s. The RDA of minerals should not exceed 100%. Always take with food and water.
Natural Sources of Vitamins
Natural Sources of Minerals