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Let’s face it. A common, supermarket-shelf vitamin/mineral complex may be just fine for people who have common, supermarket-shelf fitness aspirations. But the fact that you're here reading this article suggests that you have loftier goals.
The demands of high-intensity exercise can deplete bodily levels of key nutrients very swiftly, undermining performance and recovery. At any given moment, your body is utilizing scores of different nutrients -- from proteins, carbs and fats to vitamins, minerals and enzymes. If you're conscientious about your diet and supplementation, there's a good chance you have proteins, carbs, and healthy fats covered.
Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are another story. Many otherwise dedicated athletes run the risk of permitting detrimental nutritional gaps that can decrease performance and wipe out any potential gains that might accrue from training.
Here's a short list of crucial nutrients for athletes that either deplete very quickly under great stress or are difficult to consume in sufficient quantities from whole food sources.
Most people don't normally associate vitamin supplementation with a revitalizing surge of energy, but we don't call Vitamin B the energy vitamin for nothing. Similarly, people might think our bodily levels of this common vitamin are always abundant, and they would be wrong again.
The B-vitamin group -- among them, vitamins B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin and folate -- has a critical role to play in energy production. The body uses these nutrients to convert protein and sugar into energy and to support the formation of red blood cells, which in turn remove carbon dioxide from your body and carry oxygen to cells, supporting work output. Keeping B12 levels high is important for all athletes, particularly endurance athletes.
You can lose as much as 5.7% of your bodily stores of iron through perspiration during one hour of even medium-intensity exercise, such as jogging (1 Akabas, et al). This is important because iron is a key component of red blood cells, which are tasked with conveying oxygen to muscle cells and carbon dioxide away from them. Thus, proper iron levels, like those of Vitamin B12, are conducive to enhanced endurance and work output. Indeed, the Food and Nutrition Board, one of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, suggests a 30 percent increase in iron intake for people who exercise intensely on a regular basis.
Zinc and Magnesium
Zinc is a key mineral that supports energy and endurance, while magnesium is a component of more than 300 enzymes involved in energy metabolism, bone formation, nerve and muscle function, and protein, fat, and carbohydrate synthesis. When combined with Vitamin B6, there is also some evidence to suggest that they support testosterone production and insulin-like growth factor.
You lose both these minerals during intense exercise by way of perspiration, so supplementation is well indicated. It should be noted too that taking these two minerals in proper ratio (such as in a premium daily multi) is important because excessive intake of zinc can result in deficiencies of magnesium.
Vitamin D and Vitamin K
These two vitamins go together because they work synergistically to support bone health and cardiovascular function -- and because most people don't get nearly enough of either. Vitamin D deficiency in particular affects nearly half of the world's population and more than 40% of the US population. Your body produces Vitamin D primarily by synthesizing it out of exposure to sunlight, and most people simply don't get outside enough (and apply plenty of sunblock when they do).
This is unfortunate because your bones need Vitamin D to facilitate the absorption of calcium, which in turn supports bone density and strength. Recent research also suggests that Vitamin D helps the mitochondria in muscle cells regenerate energy after contractions, thus boosting endurance (2 Sinha, et al).
Vitamin K2 works in tandem with Vitamin D3 to enhance calcium uptake and utilization to help maintain bone density. It also helps to activate a key circulatory protein that inhibits blood vessel calcification, and is necessary for the production of prothrombin, a clotting factor essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Calcium is the most important nutrient for building bone and slowing the pace of bone loss. This is especially true as we grow older and bone mass and density tend to decrease.
Calcium deficient athletes run a substantially higher risk of exercise-related stress fractures and related injuries. How much so? Researchers from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that the addition of one additional cup of calcium-fortified skim milk reduced runners’ incidence of developing a stress fracture by an amazing 62 percent (3 Nieves, et al).
Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10) is a crucial enzyme found in every cell of the human body, where it plays a critical role in the most basic and important of intracellular processes -- it helps cells produce energy in the form of ATP. It is literally the energy circuit of every cell in your body, including muscle tissue. CoQ10 also has potent antioxidant properties and may provide support for cognitive function and general energy levels.
After the age of 30, your natural levels of CoQ10 begin to decline. After the age of 50, that rate of decline grows even steeper. Highly active people and those with cardiovascular issues may feel the impact of lowered CoQ10 levels even earlier.
Vitamin C has long been associated with reducing and shortening the effects of colds and flu, while supporting white blood cell function. This is important for highly active people because long-lasting exercise at a moderate intensity has been linked to decreased immune function.
Vitamin C is also necessary for normal glandular function, particularly the adrenal and thyroid, and its powerful antioxidant capacity helps clean up the free radicals and damaging reactive oxygen that flood your system at the cellular level, causing inflammation.
Vitamin C is a super-versatile nutrient for athletes, as it also supports strengthening of bones and connective tissue, quicker healing of wounds, and greater elasticity and health of arterial walls. Finally, some studies have shown that taking Vitamin C may modulate stress hormone concentrations, supporting healthy hormonal function.
Potassium and Sodium
People who have participated in organized workouts in the summer heat (such as a football camp) may remember that salt tablets were once in abundant supply on the sidelines. Nowadays, sports drinks fill that requirement, but the principle is the same. Sodium and potassium are electrolytes that work together to maintain fluid balance in the body, which in turn supports cell membrane viability.
During exercise, you lose electrolytes through sweat, which can lead to fatigue and muscle cramping. Dehydration can come on fast, so potassium and sodium intake is well indicated for general supplementation and intra-workout intake (in the form of sports drinks) as well.
An Advanced Super-Premium Multivitamin / Mineral / Antioxidant Complex
Clearly, there are any number of key nutrients that can be lacking in your diet and thus hampering your performance, productivity, and overall well-being. (We haven't even covered boron, chromium or choline yet!) The good news is that a well-sourced and fully comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement can help you easily fill these dietary gaps and offer you the peace of mind that comes with proper nutrition.
An ultra-premium daily multiple like ProSource's Super MegaMax supports hundreds of critical biochemical reactions essential to peak physique, performance and wellness. Its complete spectrum of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants is formulated from the highest-quality sources and provided in dosages specifically intended to support and fuel your highly active lifestyle.
With regard to vitamins, Super MegaMax contains a blend of B-Power Energy Factors that, among other B vitamins, contains an ultra-high amount of B12 -- 100 times the potency compared to generic brands, as well as a highly bioactive form of Vitamin C, 400 IUs of Vitamin D (crucial for bone strength and inflammation protection), and an isomer blend of natural Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Looking for key mineral content? As we've seen, strenuous physical exercise causes significant increases in the loss of zinc. Even small deficiencies in zinc can lead to reductions in energy and endurance. That's why Super MegaMax provides 200% of your recommended daily value of zinc.
Magnesium, chromium, iron. They all facilitate key functions of repair, growth, and recovery, and their present and accounted for in Super MegaMax. Feeling sluggish? The N-Acetyl-cysteine found in Super MegaMax is a derivative of the amino acid cysteine that researchers have suggested for some time has an impact on performance and fatigue.
Super MegaMax also provides superior antioxidant protection via lycopene, quercetin, alpha lipoic acid, calcium and CoQ10, compounds that have a synergistic cellular energy and free-radical protective effect -- and are normally not found in standard-issue multiples. Super MegaMax's ultra-comprehensive capacity is further manifested in a remarkable 20,000 IUs of beta carotene, 200 mcg of chromium, and a full spectrum of minerals for hydration and muscle contraction support.
The list goes on and on, encompassing 40 different key nutritional co-factors to support peak health and well-being.
In a perfect world, we would get all the vitamins and minerals we need from the food we eat. In our real world, ever busier days put a hard limit on how much food preparation we can possibly do. And then too, the most varied meal plan imaginable will still be deficient in some essential trace minerals or other micronutrient factors.
Super MegaMax from ProSource has you covered with an ultra-wide spectrum of complete nutrition. Its wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will help you build and maintain the sturdy physiological foundation from which enhanced performance, increased workout productivity and physique improvement is possible.
1 Sharon R Akabas, Karen R Dolins. Micronutrient requirements of physically active women: what can we learn from iron? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 81, Issue 5, May 2005, Pages 1246S–1251S.
2 Akash Sinha, Kieren Hollingsworth, Steve Ball, Tim Cheetham. Improving the vitamin D status of vitamin D deficient adults is associated with improved mitochondrial oxidative function in skeletal muscle. Endocrine Abstracts, 2013; DOI: 10.1530.
3 Jeri W Nieves, Kathryn Melsop, Meredith Curtis, Jennifer L Kelsey, Laura K Bachrach, Gail Greendale, Mary Fran Sowers, Kristin L Sainani. Nutritional factors that influence change in bone density and stress fracture risk among young female cross-country runners. PM & R: The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation. 2010 Aug;2(8):740-50; quiz 794.
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