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Vitamins & Minerals - Foundation to Good Health and Performance

1988   1779 

woman eating fruitVitamins and minerals are foundational nutrients. That is, they are the nuts and bolts of the body so to speak and are the foundation of good health. They are building and maintenance materials that, over time, build the strongest and healthiest body possible. Vitamins and minerals are also essential nutrients. This means that the body cannot make them but they are essential to life. They must be obtained from food or sunlight (vitamin D can be synthesized from sunlight). If you don’t obtain enough of them through your diet (think vegetables and fruits everyday), you’ll find yourself deficient and sometimes never realize it, especially if you’ve been living in a deficient state for years. So, they are important for everyone but are crucial for athletes. Any deficiency in any vitamin or mineral will prevent you from achieving optimal performance. If you don't get enough vitamins and minerals, forget performing at your best.

What are their function / Benefits:
Help build a stronger body
Help increase performance
Help recover faster

Sadly, due to our nutrient deficient soil, highly processed foods, poor air and water quality, and the unique needs of our bodies under the added stresses of training and competition, providing athletes with the right quality and amount of vitamins and minerals has become a daunting task. This is why we generally recommend supplementation in addition to making a concerted effort to get vitamins and minerals from food sources like organic fruits and vegetables. A high potency and complete multivitamin and mineral supplement in its most bioavailable form should be the foundation of an athlete's nutrition program to help reach optimum performance and maintain overall good health.

Keep in mind nutrients such as the vitamins and minerals need time to help build a strong body. To build a strong body, it takes time which is a concept known as physiological dynamics. There are no short cuts if you want to be a strong and healthy athlete. As you take the right nutrients, the body's physiology will adapt but this is a slow process that happens over months. For example, it takes 3-4 months for your blood supply to replace itself. All your bones and the enamel of your teeth are replaced every year. As the saying goes, you are what you eat ... or, more accurately, you are what you ate 6 months ago. 

Vitamins & Minerals - Function and food sources
As you can see below, vitamins and minerals are involved in all aspects of our body's maintenance, growth, and overall health. The following is a list of the13 vitamins required by the human body and all the minerals that are often deficient in our modern diet.  

Vitamin A is essential for vision, growth, skin health, supporting the immune system, and reproduction.
Food sources include: fish liver oil, egg yolks.

Vitamin C is essential to make collagen, bones, and connective tissue. It is a powerful antioxidant (prevents the destruction of cells through oxidation).
Food sources include: fruit and vegetables (fresh and organic are best for vitamin C and all other vitamins and minerals)

Vitamin D is essential to bone health, muscle contraction, muscle strength and mass, immune system, and energy production.
Sources include: sunlight

Vitamin E is essential to protect the cell membranes. It is a powerful antioxidant (prevents the destruction of cells through oxidation).
Food sources include: whole grains, nuts, soybean, and seeds

Vitamin K is essential to blood clotting and bone formation.
Food sources include:green leafy vegetables

Vitamin B1(Thiamin) is essential to energy metabolism, metabolism of branched –chain amino acids (the building blocks of protein), brain tissue, and function of the body’s nerves (your nerves need to fire in order to move a muscle for example).
Food sources include: whole grains, beans, and peas

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is essential to the mitochondria of cells (the cellular power plant that makes the energy your body needs from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats).
Food sources include: dairy products, meat, and fish

Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide) is essential to the energy cycle and DNA repair.
Food sources include: fish, poultry, meat

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is essential to be breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins (our fuel sources).
Food sources include: meat, fish, legumes, whole grains

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential to muscle repair, growth, and the energy cycle.<
Food sources include: fish, chicken, eggs

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is essential the formation of glucose and fatty acids (do use as energy), and breakdown of branched-chain amino acids (building blocks of protein).
Food sources include: soy, liver, egg yolk, sardines

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is essential in amino acid metabolism, making DNA, formation of red blood cells, and cell growth.
Food sources include: green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, legumes

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) is essential to the formation of red blood cells, and use of fats as fuel.
Food sources include: eggs, meat, diary products

Calcium is essential to bone formation and muscle contraction.
Food sources include: leafy green vegetables and dairy products.

Iron is essential to the formation of hemoglobin (the red pigment in blood that carries oxygen).
Food sources include: red meat, poultry, fish, leafy vegetables, beans, and tofu.

Iodine is essential to your thyroid hormones (controls your energy system).
Food sources include: seafood, and plants grown in iodine rich soil.

Magnesium is essential to using glycogen for fuel, formation of new proteins and is an electrolyte. Over 300 enzymes require magnesium to do their job.
Food sources include: legumes, whole grains, coffee, cocoa, tea, and chlorophyll in green vegetables.

Zinc is essential to all cell growth (ex: growth of muscle). It is found in more than a hundred enzymes.
Food sources include: Seafood, meat, and eggs. The quantity in plant depends on the quantity in the soil the plants grow. Some plant sources include wheat, nuts, and seeds (ex: sesame).

Selenium is essential to the formation of antioxidant enzymes that neutralize the free radical (free radicals damage cells) hydrogen peroxide (which is greatly increased with exercise), and thyroid function.
Food sources include: nuts, cereals, meat, fish, and eggs.

Copper is essential to the energy cycle, formation of hemoglobin, oxygen use, and immune system.
Food sources include: nuts, potatoes, beans, sunflower seeds, oysters, and beef liver.

Manganese is essential for bone and cartilage formation, numerous enzymes including the antioxidant enzyme (superoxide dismutase) that protects your cell’s “power plants” called mitochondria, and glucose and insulin metabolism.
Food sources include: whole grains, and most plant foods.

Chromium is essential to insulin metabolism, food type metabolism (carbohydrate, fat, and protein), and muscle growth.
Food sources include: whole grains, meats, fruits, and vegetables

Molybdenum is essential to numerous enzymes involved, for example, with amino acid metabolism. In essence it is important to growth and, as with the other minerals, a healthy and long life.
Food sources include: eggs, animal liver, plant food (ex: lentils, green beans, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, and cereal grain) – as with numerous other minerals, the amount of molybdenum in plant food depends on the soil content where plants are grown and thus varies greatly.

Potassium is essential to the function of all living cells. It is one of the main electrolytes in the body involved in conducting nerve impulses that allow muscles to contract. Other functions include controlling fluid balance and regulating certain hormones.
Food sources include: fruits and vegetables.

Boron is essential to normal growth especially muscle and bone growth and maintenance.
Food sources include: plant foods including nuts, raisins, and dates

Vanadium is essential to normal health and growth.
Food sources include: vegetables and seafood.

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