Nutrition Tips – Part 3: Vitamins and the rest

This is the 3rd and final part of a series with Dr. Shawn Williams of Montclair Performance Health & Chiropractic (formerly the Academy of Lifestyle Medicine). We’ve spent some time talking about overall diet, energy sources, and a basic introduction of vitamins. We are going to finish up with some particular vitamins in this post and then we’re all set.

I try to eat as healthy as I can. That doesn’t mean no chips, ice cream, or cake. There are some things that I just enjoy eating but moderation is the key. For the “healthy” foods in our diets (fruits, vegetables, fresh items), the nutritional substance, including vitamins and minerals, has steadily decreased over the years. Recently, I reviewed my diet and, although I thought I was hitting the necessary areas, found that I was deficient in vitamin D and a couple of the vitamin B types. As a side note, to be completely sure where your deficiencies lie, you can take a blood test/screen that will analyze different markers. Since then, I have started to take a multivitamin and vitamin D supplement, both from Klean Athlete, and my body just feels fresher.

Last post had a little about vitamins C, D, and E. The vitamin B group is essential to performance. Keep in mind they tend to be heavily depleted in vigorous exercise and drinking alcohol. They are incredibly important for you to replenish. They play a huge role in energy, thinking, and are involved in most functions of the body. This is also why athletes sometimes hit walls, or plateaus when they are working out, whether its the weight room or running a certain time and you just can’t break through. If you experience that, fatigue, headaches, or are cold all the time, or your memory isn’t very sharp a good B complex is the place to start. Vitamin B6 is involved in more functions than any other nutrient in the body. It is very important for energy, headaches from depletion, alcohol, or vigorous exercise. Vitamin B12 is important for the heart to keep homocysteine levels, which is the number one indicator of heart disease. Many of these B’s are found mostly in meats especially B12, so vegetarians also show signs of deficiencies.

On the minerals side, calcium and zinc are major nutrients for the body. Zinc was a big focus from Dr. Williams. He stressed its importance because it is a  component of more than 300 enzyme systems, great for immunity and healing especially after vigorous exercise. The last thing to note, which is particularly important for endurance athletes is that it is deficient in people who drink a lot and eat a diet high in carbs.

In the end, it’s important to realize that just because you are an athlete an in good shape doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want. You need to actually eat better or at some point your body won’t perform to the level you want it to.

I hope you were able to learn something between the 3 posts. If you missed one, check them out at AldenTris – Nutrition. In the meantime, have fun training!

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