The B-vitamins (thiamin, ribofavin, vitamin B-6) are necessary in the energy-producing pathways of the body, while folate and vitamin B-12 are required for the synthesis of new cells, such as the red blood cells, and for the repair of damaged cells. Active individuals with poor or marginal nutritional status for a B-vitamin may have decreased ability to perform exercise at high intensities. This review focuses on the B-vitamins and their role in energy metabolism and cell regeneration. For each vitamin, function related to physical activity, requirement, and status measures are given. Research examining dietary intakes and nutritional status in active individuals is also presented. Current research suggests that exercise may increase the requirements for ribofavin and vitamin B-6, while data for folate and vitamin B-12 are limited. Athletes who have poor diets, especially those restricting energy intakes or eliminating food groups from the diet, should consider supplementing with a multivitamin/mineral supplement.
Kathleen Woolf and Melinda M. Manore
Susan J. Massad, Nathan W. Shier, David M. Koceja and Nancy T. Ellis
Factors influencing nutritional supplement use by high school students were assessed. Comparisons were made between various groups of sports participants and non-sports participants. The Nutritional Supplement Use and Knowledge Scale was administered to 509 students. Mean supplement use score was 10.87 (SEM = 0.50, range 0-57). Mean knowledge score was 13.56 (SEM = 0.16, range 1-21). Significant relationships (p < .01) were obtained for supplement knowledge with use, and supplement use with gender. ANOVA found significant differences between supplement use by gender (p < .01), supplement use by sports category (p < .05), and knowledge scores by sports category (p < .01). Discriminant function analysis indicated knowledge, supplement use, and subscores for protein, vitamins/minerals, and carbohydrates were best discriminators of sport group membership. Greater knowledge about supplements was associated with less use; hence, education about supplements can be a deterrent to use. This study may help coaches, athletic trainers, athletic directors, teachers, physicians, and parents identify nutritional misconceptions held by adolescents.
Holden S-H. MacRae and Kari M. Mefferd
We investigated whether 6 wk of antioxidant supplementation (AS) would enhance 30 km time trial (TT) cycling performance. Eleven elite male cyclists completed a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study to test the effects of twice daily AS containing essential vitamins plus quercetin (FRS), and AS minus quercetin (FRS-Q) versus a baseline TT (B). MANOVA analysis showed that time to complete the 30 km TT was improved by 3.1% on FRS compared to B (P ≤ 0.01), and by 2% over the last 5 km (P ≤ 0.05). Absolute and relative (%HRmax) heart rates and percent VO2max were not different between trials, but average and relative power (% peak power) was higher on FRS (P ≤ 0.01). Rates of carbohydrate and fat oxidation were not different between trials. Thus, FRS supplementation significantly improved high-intensity cycling TT performance through enhancement of power output. Further study is needed to determine the potential mechanism(s) of the antioxidant efficacy.
Hanan A. Alfawaz, Soundararajan Krishnaswamy, Latifah Al-Faifi, Halima Ali Bin Atta, Mohammad Al-Shayaa, Saad A. Alghanim and Nasser M. Al-Daghri
for protection from cardiovascular diseases ( Nunez-Cordoba & Martinez-Gonzalez, 2011 ), calcium and vitamin D supplementation for increasing bone mineral density ( Silk et al., 2015 ), and vitamin C in preventing and treating the common cold ( Hemila & Chalker, 2013 ). Despite the absence of
Gal Dubnov-Raz, Netachen Livne, Raanan Raz, Avner H. Cohen and Naama W. Constantini
It is hypothesized that vitamin D insufficiency in athletes might negatively affect sport performance. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on physical performance of adolescent swimmers with vitamin D insufficiency. Fifty-three adolescent competitive swimmers with vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin-D concentrations (25(OH)D)<30ng/ml, mean 24.2 ± 4.8ng/ml) were randomized to receive 2,000IU/day of vitamin D3 or placebo for 12 weeks. Swimming performance at several speeds, arm-grip strength, and one-legged balance, were measured before and after supplementation. The age-adjusted changes in performance variables during the study were compared between groups. 25(OH) D concentrations at study end were significantly higher in the vitamin group compared with the placebo group (29.6 ± 6.5ng/ml vs. 20.3 ± 4.2ng/ml, p < .001), yet only 48% of the vitamin group became vitamin D sufficient with this dosing. No between-group differences were found in the changes of the performance variables tested. No significant differences in performance were found between participants that became vitamin D sufficient, and those who did not. No significant correlation was found between the change in serum 25(OH)D and ageadjusted balance, strength or swimming performance at study end. Vitamin D3 supplementation that raised serum 25(OH)D concentrations by a mean of 9.3ng/ml above placebo in adolescent swimmers with vitamin D insufficiency, did not improve physical performance more than placebo.
Wade L. Knez and Jonathan M. Peake
Ultraendurance exercise training places large energy demands on athletes and causes a high turnover of vitamins through sweat losses, metabolism, and the musculoskeletal repair process. Ultraendurance athletes may not consume sufficient quantities or quality of food in their diet to meet these needs. Consequently, they may use oral vitamin and mineral supplements to maintain their health and performance. We assessed the vitamin and mineral intake of ultraendurance athletes in their regular diet, in addition to oral vitamin and mineral supplements. Thirty-seven ultraendurance triathletes (24 men and 13 women) completed a 7-day nutrition diary including a questionnaire to determine nutrition adequacy and supplement intake. Compared with dietary reference intakes for the general population, both male and female triathletes met or exceeded all except for vitamin D. In addition, female athletes consumed slightly less than the recommended daily intake for folate and potassium; however, the difference was trivial. Over 60% of the athletes reported using vitamin supplements, of which vitamin C (97.5%), vitamin E (78.3%), and multivitamins (52.2%) were the most commonly used supplements. Almost half (47.8%) the athletes who used supplements did so to prevent or reduce cold symptoms. Only 1 athlete used supplements on formal medical advice. Vitamin C and E supplementation was common in ultraendurance triathletes, despite no evidence of dietary deficiency in these 2 vitamins.
Gal Dubnov-Raz, Netachen Livne, Raanan Raz, Daniel Rogel, Avner H. Cohen and Naama W. Constantini
Serum vitamin D concentrations (25[OH]D) are associated with physical performance in the general population, but few studies have been published in athletes. 80 competitive adolescent swimmers from both sexes were tested for serum 25(OH)D concentrations, grip strength, balance and swimming performance at several speeds. Spearman’s correlations were used to examine the associations between 25(OH)D concentrations and age-adjusted measures of performance. Performance parameters were also compared between vitamin D sufficient (n = 27), insufficient (25[OH]D ranging 20−29.9 ng/ml, n = 42), and deficient (25[OH]D < 20 ng/ml, n = 11) participants. No significant associations were found between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and any of the performance measures, with no significant differences found between vitamin D sufficient, insufficient and deficient participants. In competitive adolescent swimmers, serum vitamin D concentrations were not associated with strength, balance or swimming performance. Vitamin D insufficient/deficient swimmers did not have reduced performance.
Markus Herrmann, Rima Obeid, Juergen Scharhag, Wilfried Kindermann and Wolfgang Herrmann
This study aimed to compare the vitamin B12 and folate status of recreational endurance athletes and inactive controls by modern biomarkers. In 72 athletes (38 ± 7 y) and 46 inactive controls (38 ± 9 y) serum levels of vitamin B12, methylmalonic acid (MMA), holotranscobalamin II (holoTC), folate, and homocysteine (Hcy) were measured. Vitamin B12 and folate levels of both groups were comparable, but athletes had higher median (25.−75. percentile) MMA [242 (196 to 324) versus 175 (141 to 266) nmol/L] and holoTC concentrations [67 (52 to 93) versus 55 (45 to 70) pmol/L] than controls. Hcy was slightly lower in athletes [9.2 (7.2 to 12.6) versus 10.8 (8.9 to 12.9) nmol/L]. In controls, we found the following correlations: vitamin B12 and MMA (r = −0.38), vitamin B12 and holoTC (r = 0.51), MMA and holoTC (r = −0.36). In athletes, MMA did not correlate with vitamin B12 and holoTC. Our data suggests an altered vitamin B12 metabolism in recreational athletes that needs further investigation.
Helaine M. Alessio, Allan H. Goldfarb and Guohua Cao
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) was supplemented (1 g/day) for 1 day and 2 weeks in the same subjects. Plasma thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TB ARS) and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) before and after 30 min submaximal exercise were measured. Different vitamin C supplementations did not affect resting TB ARS or ORAC. Following 30 min exercise, values for TBARS were 12.6 and 33% above rest with 1 day and 2 weeks of vitamin C supplementation, respectively, compared to 46% higher with placebo. ORAC did not significantly change (11%) after exercise with a placebo, nor when subjects were given vitamin C supplements for 1 day or 2 weeks (4.9% and 5.73%, respectively). TBARS:ORAC, a ratio representing oxidative stress, increased 32% (p < .05) with placebo compared to 5.8 and 25.8% with vitamin C supplements for 1 day and 2 weeks, respectively. It was concluded that exercise-induced oxidative stress was highest when subjects did not supplement with vitamin C compared to either 1 day or 2 weeks of vitamin C supplementation.
Pamela J. Magee, L. Kirsty Pourshahidi, Julie M. W. Wallace, John Cleary, Joe Conway, Edward Harney and Sharon M. Madigan
A high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency, which may impact on health and training ability, is evident among athletes worldwide. This observational study investigated the vitamin D status of elite Irish athletes and determined the effect of wintertime supplementation on status.
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], calcium, and plasma parathyroid hormone were analyzed in elite athletes in November 2010 (17 boxers, 33 paralympians) or March 2011 (34 Gaelic Athletic Association [GAA] players). A subset of boxers and paralympians (n = 27) were supplemented during the winter months with either 5,000 IU vitamin D3/d for 10–12 weeks or 50,000 IU on one or two occasions. Biochemical analysis was repeated following supplementation.
Median 25(OH)D of all athletes at baseline was 48.4 nmol/L. Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency (serum 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L) was particularly evident among GAA players (94%) due to month of sampling. Wintertime supplementation (all doses) significantly increased 25(OH)D (median 62.8 nmol/L at baseline vs. 71.1 nmol/L in April or May; p = .001) and corrected any insufficiencies/deficiencies in this subset of athletes. In contrast, 25(OH)D significantly decreased in those that did not receive a vitamin D supplement, with 74% of athletes classed as vitamin D insufficient/deficient after winter, compared with only 35% at baseline.
This study has highlighted a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency among elite Irish athletes and demonstrated that wintertime vitamin D3 supplementation is an appropriate regimen to ensure vitamin D sufficiency in athletes during winter and early spring.