Thirteen different vitamins have been identified and studied to date. They are classed as either fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, K) or water-soluble (vitamin B complex, vitamin C). Together they are responsible for blood clotting, neuromuscular function, healthy skin, teeth and bones and numerous other bodily functions.
A well-balanced diet should provide an adequate supply of all the vitamins regardless of age and level of physical activity. During periods of intense training, a natural increase in food intake supplies any extra vitamin demand the body may have.
Free Radicals, Antioxidants & Exercise
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to the cells and are thought to accelerate the aging process and contribute to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They are found in cigarette smoke, environmental pollution and some medications. Exercise may also increase the production of free radicals.
The body has an elaborate defence system against free radicals in the form of antioxidant enzymes. Vitamins A, C and E are known as antioxidant vitamins and can protect the cells against free radical damage. Although foods like citrus fruits, green vegetables and nuts contain antioxidant vitamins, some athletes feel the need to take a supplement due to the high level of training they undergo.
Although exercise is thought to increase free radical production, it also appears to increase the body's antioxidant defence system at the same time. However, there is some research to suggest that a vitamin E supplement can reduce harmful free radical production associated with exercise. Whether this offers any overall health benefits is still unclear.
Over 40 years of research has failed to show that vitamin supplementation can offer any sort of performance enhancement when a nutritionally balanced diet is present. Some vitamins (such as vitamin C) taken in excess can actually be harmful. The recommendation is to eat a well balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.
EXELLENT LEARNING MATERIAL CAN BE FOUND AT THE EVERY OTHER DAY DIET GUIDE