Author(s): van der Beek EJ
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Abstract Vitamins, just as minerals and trace elements, meet with great interest in the world of sports because of their supposed role in enhancing physical performance. Of the 13 compounds now considered as vitamins, most water-soluble vitamins and vitamin E are involved in mitochondrial energy metabolism. The influence of vitamin supplementation on mitochondrial metabolism is largely unknown. The principal argument for vitamin supplementation is the assumed increased vitamin requirement of athletes. Theoretically, an increased requirement can be caused by decreased absorption by the gastrointestinal tract, increased excretion in sweat, urine and faeces, increased turnover, as well as biochemical adaptation to training. Of course, a marginal low vitamin status can simply be the consequence of a long-term inadequate intake. However, considering the RDAs there are no indications that long-term vitamin intake among athletes is insufficient. Neither are there indications that vitamin excretion or turnover is increased in athletes. However, it is very likely that the (apparently) increased requirement is the consequence of biochemical adaptation to training and does not indicate a decreased intake. Although a marginal vitamin status, induced by inadequate vitamin intake, may have a negative effect on performance, there is no evidence to support the view that this occurs in trained athletes. Moreover, vitamin supplementation in athletes with an adequate vitamin status has no effect on physical working capacity. Possibly, exceptions have to be made for the use of vitamin E at high altitudes and for the use of vitamin C and multiple B-vitamin supplements in hot climates.
This article was published in J Sports Sci
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences