We have heard that vitamins are good throughout life, but why are they good? What effect do they have on my body and my training?
What are vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins are substances that are essential and therefore vital for us, but our body cannot produce these itself. Therefore, we need to get in us different kinds of vitamins through food and supplements. There are 13 different varieties and each has its own function and effect on the body. When the researchers discovered vitamins, they could see that some of them were dissolved in water while others were dissolved with ether and therefore vitamins are divided into two categories:
Fat soluble - This includes A, E, K, and D - vitamins and these we get most easily in us by eating fatter food and are best absorbed by the body together with fat and can be stored in body fat. Vitamin D is an exception because the body can actually produce this variety but sunlight is needed and here in Sweden it can be difficult during the dark seasons autumn and winter so therefore we need to add vitamin D through supplements.
Water soluble - This includes the eight different varieties of vitamin B and vitamin C. You will quickly notice if you are short of any of these and thus have a deficit. The one that stands out in the amount is B12 which is stored in the liver and is directly dangerous for the elderly and infants to lack, so it is important for these groups to get extra with B12 and the easiest is through a good dietary supplement. These, unlike fat-soluble vitamins, cannot be stored in the body and are excreted in the urine. Therefore, no layer of the excess is formed which can then be removed when the body needs it.
Effects of vitamins:
- Needed for the body to be able to extract energy from fats and carbohydrates
- Needed to be able to produce the hormones that the body needs
- Has an antioxidant effect
Each type of vitamin is needed in relatively small amounts but needs to be in our diet we eat.
Like vitamins, minerals are vital and nothing the body can produce itself, but they differ in how they are structured and what functions they possess. Minerals are solid non-organic substances and are broken down according to the degree to which they occur in the body. The different The minerals are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, iodine and selenium. These work either in the cells or outside and are therefore needed for various reasons. With increased sweating or diarrhea and vomiting, we lose a large proportion of these minerals (which are also called electrolytes) and then need to replenish to achieve a balance in the body's electrolyte level. One of the more effective ways is to take some form of fluid replacement or sports drink that contains electrolytes, but the daily maintenance is very important and requires a good and varied dietary intake with a dietary supplement as a complement.
What to think about with vitamins and minerals?
Important to keep in mind is how the vitamins are absorbed by the body. As previously mentioned, they are taken up by the body and disappear from the body in different ways and therefore need different conditions to be optimally met in the body. Different cooking methods and processes that food undergoes can create changes in the molecules and lead to a loss of nutrition and ultimately make the vitamins in the food unusable and leached. It can therefore be good to read about how you best prepare your food and how you best take your dietary supplement so that you can benefit from the various substances and get the optimal effect. Studies have also shown that magnesium is the substance that up to 80% of all elite athletes lack and need to think about adding and for women this also applies to iron. This is despite the fact that they eat well and the right food means an increased fluid intake and increased sweating that they lack magnesium and need more dietary supplements than, for example, multivitamins or the like.
What are the different Vitamins and Minerals that are important?
Vitamin D. - is the vitamin that regulates our calcium balance in the skeleton and teeth. It is also the vitamin we can produce ourselves, but there is also the greatest risk of deficiency. During dark months of the year, it is therefore good to be extra careful to get in
Vitamin D through, for example, a dietary supplement.
ZMA - is a combination of zinc, magnesium and B12 that contributes to a number of different good things for active individuals. Magnesium can help reduce fatigue, maintain normal muscle function and protein synthesis. Zinc contributes to a good immune system, maintains normal testosterone levels in the blood and protects the cells. B12 is needed for the body to be able to form blood cells and a deficiency of B12 can therefore lead to anemia.
Vitamin C - are the body's antioxidants and help the body build cartilage and bone tissue. You can easily get vitamin C by eating vegetables, berries and citrus fruits. However, it is one of the vitamins that are sensitive to heat and lose nutrient content during repeated heating or cooking at high temperatures. A good way of cooking is therefore steam cooking because it is gentler than, for example, frying. If you are deficient in vitamin C, you will notice it by feeling tired, weak and irritated.
B vitamins - consists of different varieties and stimulates, among other things, the body's metabolism, immune system and cell division. We get B vitamins by eating, among other things meat and cereals and therefore vegans may need to eat supplements or foods that contain synthetically produced B12 to meet daily needs.