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I recently received an email asking:

What happens to vitamins? Do we need to replenish them every day because they get flushed out of our bodies and down the toilet?

And in the course of a bout of exercise, which of them can contribute to a decline in performance? That is, are they removed from the point of use?


Here’s what this athlete needs to know about vitamins.

• First off, vitamins are like spark plugs in a car. They get recycled and re-used.

• As humans, we can store vitamins in our body--in the liver. (That’s why liver is so nutritious, for people who enjoy eating chicken livers or beef liver). A healthy person has about a six-week supply of Vitamin C, and a several months supply of vitamin A.

• If you fail to eat the RDA for a certain vitamin on one day, you will not become deficient overnight.

• The goal is to eat well over the course of the week, month, and year, so you can consume the vitamins you need from food. One day of poor eating will not hurt your performance.

• A decline in performance is more likely due to lack of fuel (from carbohydrates) or lack of water--but not lack of vitamins in an athlete who eats adequately (as opposed to restricts food intake). The exception is the common deficiency of iron, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

• By eating colorful vegetables, a variety of fruits, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy, you can consume both the vitamins you need for spark lugs and the carbs you need for fuel to excel.

Eat wisely and well!


Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

1,649 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: performance, vitamins, supplements, iron
Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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