As I rested in bed early this morning listening to the radio, I can across a radio program that was clearly an advertorial. The speaker was taking about how you can have more energy if you buy a zillion different types of his brand of vitamins, amino acids, anti-oxidants, and other such nutritional supplements. Not once did the speaker mention that food is the source of energy. Food contains calories, and calories are the fuel you need to function.
Vitamins and supplements are just the spark plugs in your bodys engine. No amount of supplements will boost your energy if you skip breakfast, skimp on lunch, and plow through the day with inadequate gas in your tank. Yes, you do need vitamins to help convert the food into energy. But I rarely see debilitating vitamin deficencies in active people who are eating 2,000 to 3,000+ calories a day, including many fortified foods like energy bars and breakfast cereals that can be vitamin pills in themselves.
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?
Heres 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. (Thats 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.