Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Introduction to Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and Minerals are nutrients the body needs to carry out its processes. Often, the REC receives questions regarding the supplementation of different vitamins and minerals. There are many products on the market, including multivitamins, that boast positive health affects and an ability to help athletic performance. Many athletes, and even the general public, aren’t aware of their needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals, or what food sources they come from.

Some people operate on the assumption that if vitamins and minerals are good for you, then it can’t hurt to take more than you need. This isn’t necessarily true. Vitamins and minerals can be toxic at certain levels and may also interfere with medications an individual is on or with the actions of other vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat. If you eat well and have a balanced diet, including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, supplementation is not necessary unless you have a specific deficiency. Remember as an active athlete, your caloric and nutrient needs may be higher than non-athletes. This makes it even more important that you consume a diet that includes all food groups. We will give you examples of foods and their nutrient levels to show you how food can help you reach the amount of nutrients your body needs.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is a nutrient intake goal for healthy individuals (no nutrient deficiencies) in certain age and gender categories. The Adequate Intake levels are set for nutrients when there is not enough scientific evidence to support an RDA value. Daily Reference Intakes recommended intakes (DRI) will be used to describe nutrient intakes as there is no need to distinguish between them for our purposes. DRI recommended intakes are different from the Daily Values that are listed on food labels. Daily Values allow consumers to compare nutrient and energy contents of packaged foods and are percentages based on certain caloric intake levels. The DV does not take into account different needs for different age and gender groups and are intended to help compare nutritional value of foods.

This month, we will take a look at different vitamins and minerals and their functions, DRI recommended intakes, and what food sources supply them. We will start next week by focusing on the water soluble vitamins. Then we will explain fat soluble vitamins and their actions within the body. The final post of the month will focus on minerals.

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