Vitamins are essential micronutrients essential for proper metabolism in our body. They are organic compounds found in food. The human body produces a very little amount of vitamins. Hence external sources of vitamins or supplements should be used to fulfil the needs.
Unlike the basic nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats), vitamins do not provide energy, which is why they are included in the group of active substances. They mainly have two functions:
- Enzyme Formation: Some enzymes needed for the metabolism of basic nutrients in the body's cells can only be formed if sufficient vitamins are present.
- Strengthening the immune system: These are vitamins that are in the blood or in certain cells, such as vitamins A, C, D and E.
Sports persons and athletes engage in rigorous physical activities. The dietary requirements of such individuals are different from average individuals. Hence the sports persons should take regular supplements to to replenish them. This helps in maintaining a healthy level of supplements and prevent any stress on the body. An adequate amount of vitamin level in the body is essential for smooth functioning of the body. It also helps in achieving better performance objectives set by athletes.
Vitamins can be classified in to two types
- water soluble vi( Vitamins ( Vitamin B and C )
- Fat soluble vitamins ( Vitamin A, D E and K)
The following Vitamins are of special concern to athletes:
Vitamin B Complex:
The Vitamin B complex is a group of water-soluble vitamins except Vitamin C. The vitamin B-complex includes, these include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins. The B vitamins help in releasing the energy in the body, tissue repair and healthy functioning of red blood cells. Therefore, athletes need a higher dose or vitamin B supplements.
Vitamin B1: The energy and nerve vitamin (thiamine) is needed for the energy metabolism of muscles and nerves. A deficiency can lead to fatigue and lack of concentration, to muscle weakness and nerve inflammation.
Vitamin B6: Also known as pyridoxine, it is the key vitamin for muscle building and protein metabolism. With increasing protein intake, the need for vitamin B6 increases. A deficiency can be reflected in decreased protein synthesis, muscle wasting or cramping.
Vitamin B12: This vitamin can only be produced by microorganisms and contributes to the development of endogenous proteins. An adequate supply is therefore particularly important for athletes.
Vitamin C: Commonly referred to as ascorbic acid, it boosts the immune system, and helps in the regeneration of cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Vitamin D: It is mainly absorbed by sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is very common because of today's lifestyle. It is important for maintaining bone health, optimal muscle function and performance, and for overall support of the immune system.
Vitamin E: The fat-soluble vitamin (also called tocopherol) is absorbed via the dietary fat. It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids and thus important for the development of healthy muscles. In addition, it is attributed an antioxidant effect, that is, it works as a blocker of free radicals in the body.
Especially competitive athletes should take care to supply adequate amounts of vitamins to their bodies. The basis for this is a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. It may be useful in special cases to compensate for the daily vitamin requirement via supplements. Especially persons belonging to the risk groups can use single or multi vitamin supplements to cover the vitamin level.